January 14, 2022

COVID-19: The latest information

Getting vaccinated can help end this pandemic.

It is important to remain aware of the risk that coronavirus infection still plays in our communities, especially for people who are not yet vaccinated. The virus continues to spread around the globe and varying strains of the virus have emerged, including the omicron variant. In the United States, the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 63 million with more than 842,000 fatalities.  

“We strongly recommend everyone age 5 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible,” said Kaiser Permanente national infectious disease leader Paul Thottingal, MD. “Vaccination is essential to preventing serious illness and hospitalization — and to putting the pandemic behind us. And fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions to protect both themselves and others by wearing masks in all public indoor spaces and continuing the healthy behaviors we have all adopted in this pandemic.”

Who can get a booster and when should they get it?

While the vaccine is still working well to prevent severe illness, recent data suggests vaccination becomes less effective at preventing asymptomatic infection or mild illness over time. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get a booster dose.

Initial vaccination

Who can get the booster?

When are you eligible?

Which booster?

Pfizer

Anyone 12 or older

5 months after initial 2-dose series

For people age 12 to 17, only Pfizer. People 18 or older can get Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J*

Moderna

Anyone 18 or older

5 months after initial 2-dose series

Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J*

J&J

Anyone 18 or older

2 months after first dose

Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J*

*Pfizer and Moderna are preferred over Johnson & Johnson in most situations. 

The CDC also recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and everyone in areas of high transmission — should continue to wear a quality, well-fitting mask in public places. It’s important to note that masks may also be required by federal, state, and local rules and regulations — including local business, school district, and workplace guidance. This includes high-risk areas such as health care settings and public transportation, and activities such as travel. Although wearing a mask may not be required in certain areas for people who are fully vaccinated, it remains prudent for each of us to do so.

As flu season continues and with the coronavirus still spreading, it’s also more important than ever to get a flu shot. The flu shot helps reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization and lowers overall infection rates. And because cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms are similar, you’ll be less likely to mistake the flu for COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated for flu. If you still need to get both vaccinations, getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time is safe and effective.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccines and how to find an appointment in your area, visit kp.org/covidvaccine.

Kaiser Permanente’s response

The pandemic has changed our lives in many unexpected ways, including introducing and expanding innovative care solutions that will make it easier and more convenient to get care even after the pandemic ends.

Nearly half of our outpatient care visits are now conducted by video or phone call. This includes an average of 40,000 video visits per weekday — and our members have rated our video visits 4.4 out of 5 stars on average. In a recent survey, 85% of respondents said they’re likely to select telehealth for their next primary care appointment.

Every day we’re filling approximately 116,000 prescriptions by mail, allowing our members to receive essential prescriptions at home. Our teams have adjusted resources and services to meet the increased mail-to-home demand, which has gone from a third of all prescriptions before the pandemic to now half of all prescriptions we dispense.

As of late December, we’ve administered more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. 

We can all play a part in ending this pandemic and keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities healthy.

  • Everyone 5 and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially if you’re planning to travel or gather with friends and family for the holidays.

  • If you’re 12 or older, get a booster shot when you’re eligible. 

  • Get the flu vaccine as soon as you can. If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, it’s safe to get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time, with no wait time in between.

  • Comply with public health orders — including wearing a mask where it is required.

  • Continue practicing healthy habits such as getting plenty of rest, eating healthy foods, exercising, and managing your stress.