COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for emergency use in the United States. Currently, over 48% of Californian adults (approximately 19.1 million people) have received at least one vaccine dose. Among those who have received the covid-19 immunization, 34.5% are fully vaccinated.

If you are interested in receiving the Covid vaccine, this guide will help you understand the importance of vaccination and the steps you can take to schedule an appointment. We’ll also walk you through what to expect during and after your appointment.

Am I Eligible to Receive the Vaccine?

Vaccination is now open to all California residents who are at least 16 years old. You don’t need to have health insurance, a Social Security number or identification to receive the vaccine, and you don’t need to pay anything for it.

Why Should I Get Vaccinated?

The vaccine can help prevent you from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. It reduces your risk of needing to be hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment. The vaccine could help reduce the spread of the virus, and it is an important tool for ending the pandemic.

Where Can I Get My Vaccine?

You can get your Covid vaccine at a pharmacy, doctor’s office, urgent care clinic or mass vaccination site. If you are a resident of Hollister, Monterey County or the Central Coast, you can get your shot at the Central Coast VNA. Many immunization clinics accept walk-in patients.

How Do I Make an Appointment?

For appointments for Covid immunizations in Monterey, Hollister and the Central Coast, you can call the Central Coast VNA at (831) 648-3777. You may want to check the My Turn website for additional information about vaccine availability and appointments in your area. Appointments can be booked online or by phone.

Which Vaccine Will I Receive?

You will receive the vaccine brand that is available at your vaccination location on the day of your appointment. The person who gives you the vaccine will tell you which brand you’re getting. If you have questions about the availability of a particular brand, call your vaccination center ahead of time to get more information.

What Should I Bring to My Appointment?

If you have photo identification or a health insurance card, be sure to bring these items with you to your appointment. You can still receive the vaccine without identification or insurance. Bringing identification allows your provider to verify the name that will go on your vaccine certificate. For patients with health insurance, your provider will use the information on your insurance card to bill your health insurance. You will not owe anything for the vaccine.

For Covid immunizations in Monterey and elsewhere, you’ll need to wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth. You should wear your mask while you wait at the immunization clinic, and you’ll need to keep it on during your appointment. Your immunization provider will be wearing a face mask, too. After your vaccine, continue to wear your face mask until you exit the vaccination center.

You might want to bring a snack or a water bottle with you in case you need to wait in line for your appointment. You could also bring a book or your favorite entertainment device to help pass the time. If you’re concerned about the possibility of post-vaccination pain or fever, you may want to bring some over-the-counter pain relievers to take after your vaccination. You should not take these before you receive the vaccine, but it’s okay to take them after you’ve received your shot.

What Can I Expect at My Appointment?

When you come for your appointment, you might have your temperature checked, and you may be asked questions about whether you’ve had any Covid symptoms. If you’re getting your vaccine at a mass vaccination site, you might be directed to wait in a line.

The person who gives you the vaccine will explain the benefits and potential side effects of vaccination, and he or she can answer any questions you may have. Next, you’ll be asked to read and sign a consent form. The form asks questions about allergies, previous allergic reactions, previous Covid vaccine doses and previous Covid treatment. It is important to answer all of the questions honestly. The provider will review and confirm your answers with you to make sure that it’s okay for you to receive the vaccine. Then, he or she will give you the vaccine.

Next, you’ll be asked to wait at the site for 15 minutes. This is done so that staff can monitor you for any side effects. If you feel unwell during the waiting period, please let the team know right away. If you’ve had previous allergic reactions to vaccines, you might be asked to wait for 30 minutes after your vaccine.

After you get the immunization, your provider will give you a vaccine certificate. The certificate will have your name, the date, location and the name of the specific vaccine that you received. Keep the card in a safe place, and bring it with you to your second appointment. Instead of laminating the card, you can store it in a plastic sleeve.

How Do I Get an Appointment for My Next Dose?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. After your first dose, you’ll be able to make an appointment for your second dose before leaving the site. You can also make your next appointment over the phone. The instructions for making your second appointment might vary from location to location, so make sure you understand how to make the appointment before leaving the vaccination center.

Where Can I Find Out More?

If you have more questions about vaccines or appointments in your area, you can check with your doctor or pharmacist to get personalized advice. For more information about Covid immunizations in Monterey County, Hollister and the Central Coast, visit our website here.