May 3, 2021

5 things to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Get the latest information about the vaccines and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center’s inpatient pharmacy director, David Cheng, PharmD, holds the vial of the first COVID-19 vaccine given in California.

Vaccines are a critical part of slowing, and eventually stopping, the spread of COVID-19. With news about the vaccines changing rapidly, Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing you with information as it’s available.

Here is an update on 5 things we know about the COVID-19 vaccines:

  1. There are 3 authorized vaccines in the United States to control and eventually end the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson company.

    NOTE: Kaiser Permanente is again administering the J&J vaccine, as supply allows, upon the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA.
    Our infectious disease doctors and other experts reviewed all available data related to the rare instances of blood clotting that caused the CDC and the FDA to temporarily pause use of the vaccine. The data indicates that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its potential risks. However, women under the age of 50 especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.

  2. Everyone 16 and older is now eligible for vaccination. On April 19, the federal government announced that everyone in the United States 16 and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

    The Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for people age 16 and up. (The Moderna and J&J vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and up.)

    It’s important to keep in mind that supplies of the vaccine can fluctuate nationally and within states and counties, and that affects how many appointments we can offer.

  3. It takes a couple weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 2 weeks after the single-dose J&J vaccine. If it has been less than 2 weeks since your vaccination, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are not fully protected.

  4. Guidance for what you can do once you’re fully vaccinated continues to evolve. According to CDC guidance, after you’ve been fully vaccinated, you can:
    • Visit inside a home or private setting without a mask with other fully vaccinated people of any age
    • Visit inside a home or private setting without a mask with one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe illness
    • Travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel test, and without quarantining after travel (requirements or restrictions by airlines or other modes of transportation may apply)
    • Travel internationally without a pre-travel test (depending on the destination), and without quarantining after travel (requirements or restrictions by airlines or other modes of transportation may apply)

  5. We must continue healthy behaviors before and after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should continue taking precautions in public places — wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart from others, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Continuing these healthy behaviors will help ensure we reduce any spread to unvaccinated or at-risk populations.

Stay informed

For the latest information, members and nonmembers can call our KP COVID Vaccine InfoLine at 1-855-550-0951, available 24/7. Callers will hear a recorded message with the latest information, available in English and Spanish, and it will be updated as more information becomes available.

Learn how to get a vaccination appointment at kp.org/covidvaccine. Kaiser Permanente members can also download the kp.org app for convenient access to information.