May 18, 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.

  2. Everyone 12 and older is now eligible for vaccination. The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only one authorized for people age 12 and older. The Moderna and J&J vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older.

    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. Also, please note that state law may require consent from a parent or guardian for people under 18 prior to vaccination.

  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. The following information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance about what you can do after you’ve been fully vaccinated.
    • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart in most settings, except where required by federal, state, and local rules and regulations, as well as local business and workplace guidance. For more information, check with your local health department.
    • You can travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel test, and without quarantining after travel.
    • You can travel internationally without a pre-travel test (depending on the destination), and without quarantining after travel. A negative test result or documentation of recovery is still required before boarding a flight to the United States, and testing is recommended within 3 to 5 days after travel.

  5. Masks remain important in many settings. Masks will continue to be required at all Kaiser Permanente facilities. The CDC mask guidance does not apply to high-risk activities or areas such as health care settings and public transportation, or travel. In addition, even after being fully vaccinated, anyone with symptoms of illness should resume wearing a mask and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Kaiser Permanente advises everyone age 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Until then, those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a quality, well-fitting mask in public places.

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.