COVID-19 Information

Our mission is simple: build a healthier community. It’s what we’ve been doing for nearly 130 years, and today we’re doing it in more ways than ever before.

COVID-19 Information (Huntington Health Physicians)

Updated September 22, 2021

Please consider this page a resource on COVID-19 information and related updates to our operations in response to the current conditions of the pandemic. It is our mission to keep you informed and ensure safe care when you need it. Please check this page regularly for updates.

Despite the state of California recently lifting many restrictions regarding mask use and occupancy in various settings, we will continue to follow strict safety guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone in our offices. Learn about our updated operations and ongoing in-office safety measures by clicking here.

COVID-19 can be transmitted by:

  • Respiratory droplets (cough)
  • Person-to-person contact

The symptoms of COVID-19 are listed below. Please note, the presence of these symptoms does not directly indicate a COVID-19 infection, as these common symptoms can also be present with other infections, such as the seasonal flu:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chills
  • Sore Throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain with fever
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Recent onset muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Congestion/Runny Nose

If you’re experiencing any of the noted symptoms and/or are concerned that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, we request that you call your doctor’s office immediately, in advance of visiting, so that we can minimize potentially exposing our staff and other patients to any illness. Next steps will be advised over the phone.

To ensure everyone’s safety during an in-office visit, we’ve implemented strict precautionary measures in all offices. Click here to learn about the safety updates to our operations.

COVID-19 Testing

We are offering COVID-19 testing to select pediatric patients across our three pediatric offices. Testing samples will be collected via nasal swabs. Get results in as soon as 24 hours. Please contact your child’s pediatric office for details and eligibility.

We are NOT performing COVID-19 testing in our adult medicine offices nor our specialty office. If you’re an adult patient and would like to get tested, please call us to speak with our medical staff for local testing options, or visit Huntington Hospital’s COVID-19 Testing page.

Once you become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please do not delay seeking access to it. There are now many options to get vaccinated throughout Los Angeles County. We encourage you to explore all available vaccination options listed on this page.

We will continue to update the list of resources below as we receive new information from the city of Pasadena and the county.

Our Pediatric Offices

Each of our three pediatric offices are now stocked with the COVID-19 vaccine to administer to pediatric patients 12 years old and above. If your child is of age, please call their pediatric office to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Please note, due to the reallocation of vaccine supply, our adult medicine offices will no longer be administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

California Residents

The California Department of Public Health is encouraging all California residents to visit the MyTurn.ca.gov site to determine if they are eligible for the vaccine and to schedule an appointment from an array of local sites.

Pharmacies In Your Area

The Pasadena Public Health website shares these additional pharmacy locations that are now registering limited COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

National Vaccination Assistance Hotline

The federal government’s new vaccination assistance hotline is 1-800-232-0233. You’ll be able to speak with a representative who can provide you with local vaccination options. Assistance can be provided in English, Spanish and additional languages.

COVID-19 Vaccine Basics

Q. What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. The COVID-19 vaccine is a shot that teaches our immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s the same idea behind the flu shot that Americans have been getting since the 1940s.

As of August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 years and older. All other COVID-19 vaccines in use remain under emergency use authorization by the FDA to help stop the spread of the pandemic.

Q. Does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

A. Yes, we know that all the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. You can read about the different vaccines in use on the CDC website (see our Resources section below).

Q. Why should I get the vaccine?

A. SARSCOV2 is a very dangerous and infectious virus that can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death.  We have all seen the effects of this global pandemic and are now experiencing even more disease due to the emergence of the Delta variant and the large number of unvaccinated individuals in our country.  More than 5.7 BILLION doses of COVID vaccines have been given worldwide. They have proven to be very safe and very effective at preventing serious disease, hospitalization and death. To control this virus and finally move on from this pandemic we will have to vaccinate as many people as we can throughout the world.  High vaccination rates protect you, your family and your community and are the most important and safest tool we have in conquering this terrible disease.

COVID-19 variants: The COVID-19 variants circulating now are very contagious, an important reason for everyone to get vaccinated. In addition, vaccination can prevent more variants from being created.

Q. Researchers developed the COVID-19 vaccine quickly. How can it be effective and safe?

A. Studies found that the two initial vaccines are effective with no serious or life-threatening side effects. There are many reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines were able to be developed so quickly. Here are just a few:

  • The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna utilize mRNA technology which was developed over 25 years ago. This technology has been studied with other viral diseases.  The enormous number of cases of COVID during this global pandemic have allowed the more rapid evaluation of safety and efficacy of this technology.
  • China isolated and shared genetic information about COVID-19 promptly, so scientists could start working on vaccines.
  • The vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but rather conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster.
  • Vaccine projects had plenty of resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.
  • Some types of COVID-19 vaccines were created using messenger RNA (mRNA), which allows a faster approach than the traditional way that vaccines are made.
  • Social media helped companies find and engage study volunteers, and many were willing to help with COVID-19 vaccine research.
  • Because COVID-19 is so contagious and widespread, it did not take long to see if the vaccine worked for the study volunteers who received the vaccine.
  • Companies began making vaccines early in the process — even before FDA authorization — so some supplies were ready when authorization occurred.

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

Q.I heard the COVID-19 vaccine was developed with or contains controversial substances. Is this true?

A. The first two COVID-19 vaccines to be authorized by the FDA contain mRNA and other, normal vaccine ingredients, such as fats (which protect the mRNA), salts, as well as a small amount of sugar. These COVID-19 vaccines were not developed using fetal tissue, and they do not contain any material, such as implants, microchips, or tracking devices.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a shot that teaches our immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s the same idea behind the flu shot that Americans have been getting since the 1940s. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for the use of COVID-19 vaccines to help stop the spread of the virus.

Q. The COVID-19 vaccine is brand new. Should we wait to see if it really works?

A. The mRNA technology behind the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Vaccine makers created the technology to help them respond quickly to a new pandemic illness, such as COVID-19.

To prevent serious illness and hospitalizations, it’s important to get the vaccine. Due to the Delta variant, most of patients currently hospitalized are unvaccinated. The vaccine has proven to work and is safe.

Q. Should pregnant women receive the vaccine?

A. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology strongly encourages pregnant women to be vaccinated against COVID 19 to protect themselves and their baby. The antibodies mothers develop in response to these vaccines not only protect them, but also cross the placenta and help protect their babies from serious diseases early in life. Vaccinating during pregnancy also helps protect a mother from getting a serious disease and then giving it to her newborn.

Q. I’ve heard a lot of different things about the vaccine, how do I know what to believe?

A. There is a lot of information about vaccines in the news right now, and some of it is not based in science. We encourage you to read the articles included in our Resources section at the end of this FAQ from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other trusted institutions.

What to Expect from the COVID-19 Vaccine

Q. How long will it take for the vaccine to begin protecting me?

A. It normally takes about two to three weeks to start getting some protection, and about six weeks for full protection. Important: even after you have received both doses of the current vaccines, you must give your body time (2-6 weeks) to have the full benefit of vaccination.

Q. Are there any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. Yes, some people do experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. Most side effects reported were mild to moderate in severity and resolved within 24 hours. Side effects included pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. More people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

Q. Does getting the COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19?

A. The vaccine will not give you COVID-19. The two authorized mRNA vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection of any sort.

Q. Does the COVID-19 vaccine change your DNA?

A. The COVID-19 vaccines are designed to help your body’s immune system fight the coronavirus. The messenger RNA from two of the first types of COVID-19 vaccines does enter cells, but not the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. The mRNA does its job to cause the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it quickly breaks down — without affecting your DNA.

Q. Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect women’s fertility?

A. No, the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility. The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. Contracting COVID-19, on the other hand, can have potentially serious impact on pregnancy and the mother’s health.  The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology strongly encourages pregnant women to be vaccinated against COVID 19 to protect themselves and their baby.

Q. Do I need to get a second shot if I’ve already received the first dose?

A. Yes. In order to be effective, the current mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) require two doses. Please be careful about scheduling your second dose on time, even if the system for doing so is hard to use. The second dose is critical for your protection.  The Johnson and Johnson vaccine remains a one dose schedule at this time.

After you have received both doses, you must give your body time (2-6 weeks) to have the full benefit of vaccination.

Download our Huntington Hospital info sheet about the importance of the second vaccine dose.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, only one dose is required to be effective.

Q. Do I need a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. There has been much discussion around boosters. While the advantage of vaccination against SARSCoV2 is so apparent, we do not yet know the durability of the vaccines. Eight months into widespread vaccination of many of our communities, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines show persistent protection, even in the presence of a highly infectious variant and decreasing antibody levels. For those of us who are vaccinated, the next important question is when and if a booster or additional dose of vaccine is appropriate. We await more information about boosters.

The FDA has approved Pfizer and Moderna 3rd shots for certain immunocompromised Americans. This includes people with weakened immune systems from organ transplants, cancer and more.

Q. Does getting the COVID-19 vaccine mean I can stop wearing my mask and taking coronavirus precautions?

A. The CDC continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and makes recommendations for wearing face masks, both for those who are fully vaccinated as well as those who are not fully vaccinated. In Pasadena and LA County, we are seeing a growing number of public and private businesses and organizations implement their own infection prevention measures including wearing a mask, both indoors and outdoors, physical distancing and in some cases, showing proof of vaccination, both indoors and outdoors.

Q. If I’ve already had COVID-19, why do I need a vaccine?

A. Although having COVID-19 may produce protective antibodies, the duration and strength of protection from natural immunity begins to fade after 3-6 months.  This is why reinfection rates are much higher in those unvaccinated individuals who have had COVID versus vaccinated individuals. Data is emerging from solid studies that vaccine induced immunity is longer lasting and more robust.  That is why CDC recommends proceeding with full vaccination even if you’ve had COVID-19.

Questions Related to Pediatric Patients

Q. What can I do to protect my child from COVID-19?

A. Important interventions to decrease the risk of COVID 19 and its potential long-term effects in children is to promote wide-spread vaccination among the adult population, to vaccinate children over 12 years of age, and encourage masking and social distancing when children and adults are in large groups or around unvaccinated individuals.

Q. Is the Delta variant of COVID-19 more dangerous for kids? Is there a risk for my child to develop long-COVID-19?

A. Children are contracting COVID-19 at a rising pace.  This may well be due to the more infectious and dangerous Delta variant as well as the large amount of virus circulating in poorly vaccinated populations.    In general, children do not become as ill as adults with COVID-19 but rising cases of symptomatic and hospitalized children across the country suggests the Delta variant is playing a role in serious pediatric cases. Long COVID, although previously rare in children has been recognized and may be a serious chronic sequelae of the Delta variant.  These children may experience difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, muscle aches, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, heart palpitations, anxiety, depression, or other symptoms for more than a month after an initial COVID-19 infection, even if that initial infection was asymptomatic. These symptoms may last for many months and can significantly interfere with the child’s daily activities.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

In-Office Care

If you have put off your annual check-up, preventative screenings, or any other health issues that need attention, please do not delay any longer. Make your health a priority and call us today to schedule an appointment. Click here to learn about our updated operations to keep everyone safe in our offices.

Telehealth

Telehealth visits are video conference calls through your smart phone, tablet, or computer. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your condition and discuss treatment options in real-time. If your doctor feels further evaluation is needed, next steps will be advised.

With easy setup, a private and secure connection, and coverage by most major insurances, including Medicare and Medicare Advantage, Telehealth is a simple and convenient option to stay connected and receive the care you need. For more details, call your physician’s office or click here.

To protect yourself, your family, and your community, please remember:

  • When in public, practice social distancing and properly wear basic protective equipment, such as a surgical mask, N95 or KN95 mask, a layered cloth face covering, or a combination of these options. Click here for guidance on mask wearing.
  • Practice good hand hygiene by regularly washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Refrain from touching your face, as this is a common way of transmitting the virus.
  • Monitor your own health every day.
  • Stay informed from trusted sources, such as your doctor’s office and the links on this page.

We encourage you to visit the following credible websites for more information:

World Health Organization (WHO)

Pasadena Public Health Department

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Huntington Hospital

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Mayo Clinic

News Articles

IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION, CALL 911 FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE.