Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Search SCCGOV Main Portal

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The first COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use in the United States. Hundreds of millions of people have now received these safe and effective vaccines. When you are eligible to get a dose of vaccine, the Public Health Department strongly recommends that you get one.

IMPORTANT UPDATES:

On April 13, the County of Santa Clara and other healthcare providers paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Janssen, as recommended by federal and state authorities. If you have a vaccine appointment, your vaccine provider will use one of the other available vaccines: Pfizer or Moderna. Learn more.

All individuals age 16 and older who live or work in Santa Clara County are eligible to be vaccinated.

New appointments are regularly added by the County of Santa Clara Health System and all other providers, and many providers are now adding appointments.  Please check this website for updates.

 

See If It's My Turn

The County does not determine vaccine eligibility. Healthcare providers must follow the State’s prioritization plan and determine which prioritized populations they have the supply to vaccinate. See below for the current phase of vaccine distribution for Santa Clara County residents.

Current Vaccination Phase in Santa Clara County:
Individuals Age 16 and Older Who Live or Work in Santa Clara County


The County will update this website regularly as new information becomes available.


Book an Appointment

Individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated are encouraged, but not required, to contact their healthcare system to make an appointment. Under the County’s “no wrong door” policy, all providers below (with the exception of the VA) are able to vaccinate eligible patients regardless of your healthcare provider or insurance. See below for scheduling options by provider. Check back regularly, new appointments are being added daily.

1 Sites available in San Jose, Gilroy, Santa Clara, and Mountain View.
2 Currently vaccinating all enrolled Veterans who wish to receive the vaccine. ​
Clinic is for 16 and 17 year olds who meet eligibility criteria

 

Learn More About the Vaccines

Fact Sheets issued by the U.S. federal government are available.

More information about Fact Sheets.

 

Free Transportation to Vaccination Locations

Santa Clara County, VTA has created an interactive map for the public to find a list of the current vaccination locations, along with the bus or light rail routes to take to each site. Transit trips to vaccination sites​ are free. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

faqGroupLookupString: 1. Vaccine Safety
1. Vaccine Safety
+
How was it determined that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?
+
All authorized COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials with tens of thousands of volunteers of different ages, races, and ethnicities to ensure their safety and effectiveness. The FDA, CDC, and ACIP have all evaluated the trial information and determined the vaccines to be safe, effective, and of high quality. These groups are continuing to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines to make sure even very rare side effects are identified and appropriate precautions are taken.​

Did developing the vaccines so quickly compromise safety?
+

No. None of the normal steps in the vaccine vetting process were skipped in order to quickly develop these vaccines. Rapid development was possible because:

  1. manufacturing started while the clinical trials were still underway (normally manufacturing doesn’t begin until after completion of the trials);
  2. mRNA vaccines are faster to produce than other kinds of vaccines;
  3. FDA and CDC was and is prioritizing the review process for COVID-19 vaccines; and
  4. researchers used existing clinical trial networks to quickly begin conducting the COVID vaccine trials.
​​​​​​
If I have a medical condition, can I still receive the vaccine? What if I am immunocompromised?
+

Patients with underlying medical conditions can receive the vaccine. In fact, it is important that this group be vaccinated because they are at increased risk of having severe COVID-19 illness. Immunocompromised individuals (for example, persons living with HIV, transplant recipients, and those taking immunosuppressive medications) may receive the COVID-19 vaccines. However, because sufficient data is not yet available to establish vaccine efficacy in this population, immunocompromised individuals should be counseled by their healthcare provider on the potential for reduced immune response to the vaccine and the need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19 even after getting vaccinated. ​

If I am pregnant or trying to get pregnant, can I still receive the vaccine?
+

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for you and your baby.

  • The vaccines protect expectant mothers. Individuals who get COVID-19 while pregnant are at increased risk of severe illness. The vaccine will keep you safer.
  • If you are trying to get pregnant, the vaccine is also recommended for you. There is no evidence it affects fertility.
  • COVID-19 vaccine is safe for the developing baby. Research suggests that getting vaccinated both protects mothers and also passes on antibodies to babies that better protect them.
  • Vaccination helps avoid pregnancy complications. People who get COVID-19 are at increased risk of pre-term birth.

Talk to your doctor for more information about vaccines and pregnancy.​​

Who should NOT receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
+

Almost everyone should get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Individuals with a history of allergic reactions that are not related to vaccines or injectable therapies may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For example, people who are allergic to food, pets, venom, pollen, latex, or oral medications should get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A very few people may be allergic to a component of one of the vaccines. Those individuals are usually recommended to receive a different type of COVID-19 vaccine. For example, people who cannot receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines may be recommended to receive the J&J vaccine. If you know you are allergic to an ingredient in some of the vaccines, talk to a special kind of doctor called an allergist-immunologist before receiving the vaccine.

 If you had a severe reaction to a different vaccine (not COVID-19) or injectable medication in the past, also talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Individuals who are currently sick with COVID-19 disease should not receive the vaccine until the person has recovered from acute illness and criteria have been met to discontinue isolation.

Individuals who received passive antibody (monoclonal antibodies or convalescent serum) as treatment for COVID-19 should defer vaccination for at least 90 days after antibody therapy.​​​

Should I be concerned if I or a loved one received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?
+

No. Any risk to you is extremely low.

On April 13, 2021, the County of Santa Clara and other healthcare providers paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Janssen, as recommended out of an abundance of caution by federal and state authorities. The federal government and the vaccine manufacturer are investigating rare health incidents in 6 people living in other places in the country out of the nearly 7 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered nationwide to see if they might be connected to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This is a part of the federal government system set up to keep medications safe.

If you were vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than a month ago, any risk to you is very low. If you got the vaccine within the last few weeks, any risk is also extremely low. The 6 people who experienced the rare health incident in other places had symptoms 6-13 days after vaccination. These symptoms included severe headache, severe abdominal pain, severe leg pain, and shortness of breath. If you have questions or are worried that you might have these symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. It is important to remember that the vaccines were studied with tens of thousands of volunteers of different ages, races, and backgrounds and have been safely administered to millions of people nationwide. Studies have found that serious side effects are very rare, and the vaccines are very safe.​

faqGroupLookupString: 2. Vaccine Science
2. Vaccine Science
+
How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
+

Very effective. Clinical trials involving tens of thousands of individuals have demonstrated that the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (also known as Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are highly effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.​

When do the vaccines take full effect?
+

​Starting from two weeks after receiving the second dose for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna or the single dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson​​.​​​​​

Can children be vaccinated?
+

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is only authorized for administration in patients aged 16 years and older. The Moderna and Janssen/J&J vaccines are only authorized in patients aged 18 years and older. Clinical trials are underway for children, but at this point there is no vaccine approved for children.​

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
+

Vaccine recipients commonly experience mild to moderate side effects that occur within the first three days of vaccination and resolve within 1-3 days of onset. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects include mild to moderate pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site and/or mild to moderate flu-like symptoms (for example, fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches). Serious side effects are very rare. ​​

Can I contract COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated?
+

We have strong evidence that being vaccinated will prevent you from getting severely ill and dying from COVID-19. There may be a small chance that you can still get an asymptomatic infection or mild illness, but growing evidence suggests that being vaccinated makes this possibility much less likely than if you were never vaccinated.

It is important to keep in mind that it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible a person could contract COVID-19 shortly after vaccination and get sick because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.​

If I’ve had COVID-19 in the past and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?
+

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had a COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 with intravenous monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID vaccine. Otherwise, you can receive a vaccine dose after you have recovered from acute illness and have completed your isolation period. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatment you received or if you have more questions about getting a vaccine. Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Note: Some healthcare organizations may prioritize for vaccination those who have not had a previous infection in the prior 90 days.​​​​​​

If I have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past, do I still need to get vaccinated?
+

Yes. The CDC recommends that all persons who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past be vaccinated. Individuals should complete their quarantine period prior to visiting a vaccination site.​​​

Do I still need to follow the public health orders and directives after I have been fully vaccinated?
+

Yes. At this time, unless a public health order or directive says otherwise, a person’s vaccination status does not exempt them from State and County public health orders and directives. The County will evaluate new data and evidence regarding the effects of vaccination as they come in, and may adjust this policy in the future.​

Do I still need to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 if I’ve been fully vaccinated?
+

No, if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Your exposure occurred after 14 days and less than 90 days after the completion of your vaccine series
  • You do not have any COVID-19 symptoms
  • You are not an inpatient or resident in a healthcare setting or facility
Should I still get tested, wear a mask, and avoid indoor gatherings and breakrooms if I’ve been fully vaccinated?
+

Yes. At this time, the Public Health Department’s recommendations for testing and other recommendations apply even if you have been fully vaccinated. Regular testing for frontline workers and others with exposure to the public continues to be particularly important. Public Health will adjust its recommendations in the future based on new data and evidence as they come in.​

faqGroupLookupString: 3. Vaccine Eligibility
3. Vaccine Eligibility
+
Who is currently eligible to be vaccinated?
+

All individuals age 16 and older who live or work in Santa Clara County are eligible to be vaccinated. ​​

How can I prove my eligibility at a County Health System vaccination site?
+

To demonstrate eligibility at County Health System vaccination sites, you should bring a document showing that you live or work in Santa Clara County.

Please note that the requirements at vaccination sites run by other providers, such as Kaiser, Stanford, or Palo Alto Medical Foundation, may be different.

The County understands some individuals do not have an updated photo ID or traditional paystub and will accept any reasonable document. For convenience, below are examples of documents the County will accept.​

Proof that you live in Santa Clara County

Proof that you work in Santa Clara County

  • Government-issued ID (current or expired)
  • Utility bill
  • Rental agreement
  • Library card
  • Postmarked letter
  • Vehicle registration or insurance
  • Letter from landlord
  • Court document showing name and address
  • Letter or document from a faith-based organization, shelter, or non-profit institution with the name/address of issuing organization
  • Membership card such as union, YMCA, store club card, fitness center, etc.
  • Lease agreement, utility bill, or other document providing address and name of individual that you live with and letter from that individual that they live with you
  • Work ID
  • Paystub showing work address
  • Letter from employer showing work address and that you work for them
  • Letter from union showing your work address 
  • Letter or document from a faith-based organization, shelter, or non-profit institution with the name/address of issuing organization
​​​
faqGroupLookupString: 4. Vaccine Logistics and Timeline
4. Vaccine Logistics and Timeline
+
Where will most people get vaccinated when they become eligible?
+

​Like other vaccines, many people will receive COVID-19 vaccination through their primary care provider. All large health systems including Kaiser, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the County’s hospitals and clinics, Stanford Healthcare, and some smaller community clinics have been allocated vaccine to vaccinate their patients as they become eligible. Other entities like the large pharmacy chains (for example CVS, Rite Aid) are also beginning to offer COVID-19 vaccination to eligible members of the public.​

If vaccines are coming, do I still have to wear a mask, keep a distance, and avoid gatherings, especially when indoors?
+

Yes. We all need to do our part to stay safe while we wait for vaccines to be widely available, and for a sufficient portion of the population to be vaccinated. Our county, like everyone else, has received a limited supply to start. More will come over time. This means we all need to work together to keep our risk of COVID-19 low. We can do that by protecting ourselves and others by wearing face masks, keeping our distance, and not gathering in groups, especially when indoors​​.

My family member lives in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. When will he or she be vaccinated?
+

The federal government has created a program under which CVS and Walgreens are responsible for vaccinating residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the United States.  Most of these facilities in Santa Clara County are participating in this federal program, which began vaccinations in our county on December 28, 2020. The few facilities in Santa Clara County that chose not to enroll in this program will have residents and staff vaccinated through the County and its partners. ​​​​​

What will it cost to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
+
COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost, but they are only available to eligible individuals.​​​
Who determines how many doses of vaccine are available in Santa Clara County?
+

The State of California sets the number of doses of vaccine that go to each county. The County Public Health Department is then directed to apportion a subset of these doses to healthcare providers in the County, according to directions from the state and federal government. Some other organizations with facilities in Santa Clara County get additional supplies of vaccine from the state or federal government. These organizations include federal government agencies and large health care systems that operate in more than one county (including Kaiser and Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation). Large retail pharmacies receive additional supplies.​

I don’t have a primary care doctor or insurance, where will I get my vaccine when I’m eligible?
+

Under the County’s ‘no wrong door’ policy, all providers (with the exception of the VA) will vaccinate eligible patients regardless of your healthcare provider or insurance. See above to check your eligibility and the latest options for how to book an appointment for your vaccination.​​​​​

Can I choose which vaccine I receive?
+

Depending on where you receive the vaccine, you may or may not be given a choice of options.​​​ Because all authorized vaccines are safe and effective, it is important that you are vaccinated with the first vaccine that is offered to you to ensure that you are protected as soon as possible.​

Are the County operated vaccination sites ADA compliant?
+

Yes, all of the County Health System vaccination sites are ADA compliant.​​

How are you accommodating individuals who cannot stand in line very long?
+

Each vaccination clinic has a special workflow to ensure individuals with disabilities can safely and comfortably access the site. Each site has designated parking for anyone with mobility challenges. Wheelchairs are available as needed onsite to provide access to registration, vaccination, and observation areas to minimize distances to walk between stations.​

If I received my first dose of vaccine outside of Santa Clara County, how can I receive my second dose?
+

If there are appointments available, eligible individuals who received their first vaccination dose in another county, may register to receive their second dose in Santa Clara County. To make sure that you are scheduled into a site carrying the correct manufacturer for your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), please call (408) 970-2000 to schedule your appointment. Online scheduling is only available for first dose appointments.  ​​

How do I cancel an appointment with the County Health System?
+
Appointments can be canceled by calling Valley Connections at 408-970-2000. Or, if a patient enters their mobile number during registration, they will receive a confirmation text message the day after that allows for cancellation within 24 hours of the appointment.  ​​

 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Last updated: 4/15/2021 5:33 PM