Your guide to the COVID-19 vaccine

Nurse preparing a patient’s arm for vaccination

 

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Learn about the COVID-19 vaccine

Find out how the vaccines work, how we know they’re safe, and what we're doing to ensure everyone has access.

I got the COVID-19 vaccine. Now what?

Learn how to stay safe and help protect others after you’ve been vaccinated.


 

Learn more about getting vaccinated at Kaiser Permanente

General information
Will there be a cost for the vaccine?

No. Kaiser Permanente won’t charge its members or employees for the vaccine. Vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars are required by the federal government to be given at no cost. 

Can I get the vaccine outside of Kaiser Permanente?

Yes. You’ll be able to get the vaccine from any facility that has been approved as a COVID-19 vaccine provider by its state department of health. Non–Kaiser Permanente members will also be able to get the vaccine through Kaiser Permanente at no cost. 

We are accessing state immunization registries to update our members’ records with their COVID-19 vaccinations received outside of Kaiser Permanente. However, if you’d like to send us your information directly, you can go online to kp.org to email a photo or copy of your vaccination record card to your doctor’s office. Click on the “Attach an image” link at the bottom of the message to add your photo or scanned copy.

How should I prepare for my vaccine appointment?

On the day of your vaccination, dress comfortably in clothing that makes it easy to expose your upper arm. Some clinics may be located outdoors, so dress appropriately for the weather. You can expect to have some waiting time, including an observation period of up to 30 minutes after your vaccination.   

If you’re coming for your second dose, make sure to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card.   

A parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18 to their vaccine appointment. You might be asked for your child’s photo ID (such as a school ID card or passport) and proof of age (such as a birth certificate).   

Can I choose which vaccine I get?

Members 18 and older can now choose between single-dose or two-dose vaccines when making appointments on kp.org/covidvaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for individuals 16 and older and continues to be available under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for an additional dose in certain immunocompromised people.

If you have concerns about the vaccine you’re offered when you arrive for your appointment, we have clinical staff available to answer your questions.

Will the vaccine require more than one injection?

Due to changes in vaccine supply, we’re not able to offer all approved COVID-19 vaccines at all sites where we deliver them. We’re currently working to update our system to allow people to choose between a single dose or two-dose vaccine when making appointments. We’re also working to ensure that we have the vaccines available to accommodate people who shouldn’t get a particular vaccine due to allergies or other reasons. 

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 12 to 17. Right now, Kaiser Permanente is only vaccinating people 16 and older. We plan to open appointments to children 12 to 15 later this week. We’re currently awaiting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on administering the vaccine safely to this younger age group.

If you have concerns about the vaccine you’re offered when you arrive for your appointment, we have clinical staff available to answer your questions.

Will I need a booster shot or an additional dose for COVID-19?

On September 24, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that a single Pfizer booster dose can be administered at least six months after completion of the Pfizer primary series for: 

  • Persons aged 65 years and older
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Persons aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions
  • Persons aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions based on individual benefit and risk
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting 

Kaiser Permanente will begin to administer Pfizer booster doses to these populations shortly. 

At this time, there is no recommendation for booster doses for the other two COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Janssen/J&J) in any population. The Moderna vaccine has not yet been reviewed for recommendations on additional dosing, except for those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. Neither additional nor booster doses are currently recommended for people who received the Janssen/J&J vaccine.

Additional information is available on the FDA and CDC websites.. 


Booster shots
On September 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 guidance to include recommendations for offering a single Pfizer booster dose at least six months after completion of the Pfizer primary series to certain groups of people.
 
CDC recommends that the following groups should receive a Pfizer booster:
  • Individuals aged 65 years and older
  • Individuals aged 18 years and older living in long-term care settings, and 
  • Individuals aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions

CDC recommends that the following groups, based on their individual benefits and risks, may receive a Pfizer booster:

  • Individuals aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions, and
  • Individuals aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting 

Additional information is available on the FDA and CDC websites. 

For a complete list of underlying medical conditions, please visit the CDC website .

No. At this time, the booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was with the Pfizer vaccine.

However, we expect Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine boosters to receive authorization soon. As a first step, a scientific advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has endorsed the effectiveness and safety of booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Moderna vaccine: People over age 65 as well as other adults at high risk due to underlying health conditions, occupation, and living conditions.
  • Johnson & Johnson vaccine: All adults 18 years and older.

The FDA will now consider the committee’s findings and the possible expansion of the Moderna and J&J/Janssen emergency use authorizations. Shortly after the FDA and CDC have updated their clinical recommendations, Kaiser Permanente will begin administering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots to the identified populations.

So far, reactions after getting the Pfizer booster shot were similar to those with the 2-shot primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare , but may occur.
According to the CDC, an additional dose is still considered part of a primary vaccine series and is administered to people (such as those who are immunocompromised) who may not have mounted a full immune response to the first two doses. 
 
A booster is defined by the CDC to be a vaccination that’s given when somebody mounted an adequate immune response to the first series but we think enough time has passed that that immunity may have waned, and we want to boost the immune system with another dose.
Protection against the complications of severe COVID-19, including hospitalization and death, remains high following a primary series for all of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines. However, studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against the Delta variant.

COVID-19 vaccines at Kaiser Permanente

Safety and effectiveness

Get fact-based information from medical experts that proves COVID-19 vaccines are safe and
effective.

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Equity and accessibility

See how we’re working to make COVID-19 vaccines available to the people and communities that need it most.

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Member stories

Hear from real Kaiser Permanente members and staff about their experience getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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