COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information

Updated January 26, 2021

We have all become accustomed to quickly adapting to the ever-changing conditions of this pandemic. As we continue to monitor information in partnership with Huntington Hospital and public health authorities, we are confident in our ability to continue to adapt our services and operations to be able to provide you and your family with safe and secure care options.

Please consider this page a resource for you and your family on COVID-19 information and related updates to our operations to ensure safe care when you need it.

Check this page regularly for updates.

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, which may include:

To ensure everyone’s safety during an in-office visit, effective May 18, 2020, we implemented strict precautionary measures in all offices. Click here to learn about the safety updates to our operations.

We are NOT performing COVID-19 testing in any of our offices. If you’re symptomatic and concerned about exposure to COVID-19, please call us to speak with our medical staff. We will advise next steps.

You may also visit Huntington Hospital’s COVID-19 Testing page for more information about local testing options.

We have received a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine and have begun vaccinating some of our most vulnerable patients following the guidance from local public health authorities. Under their direction, we are preparing to expand our outreach as more vaccine becomes available. 

Vaccines administered at our offices will be by appointment only. We request that you not call our offices with vaccine inquiries, but continue to refer to this page for the most up-to-date vaccine information. We will contact you to schedule an appointment once vaccine is available and you meet eligibility criteria. Thank you in advance for helping keep our healthcare workers focused on patient care.

With demand for the COVID-19 vaccine expected to be substantial, we encourage you to explore all available options, including local vaccination sites.

Thank you for your patience during this rapidly evolving development in the fight against COVID-19. As a trusted healthcare provider, we will continue to keep our patients informed of new developments.

Although this is a significant development in the fight against COVID-19, please continue to protect yourself and your community by properly wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing good hand-hygiene.

Check this page regularly for updates.

For a comprehensive COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ, click here.

Related Links

For Los Angeles County residents, ages 65 and over: Click here to schedule a vaccination appointment through the Los Angeles County Public Health Department

For Pasadena residents, ages 65 and over: Click here to register to receive future communications from the Pasadena Public Health Department on how to access the COVID-19 vaccine (Note: this is not an appointment scheduler)

Note: Please remain patient while navigating the links above. Due to high traffic, the sites may crash from time to time, then be restored.

For information on vaccine distribution (tier system) within Los Angeles County

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine from the CDC

Q. What do we know about the COVID-19 vaccines?

A.The FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine on December 11 and for the Moderna vaccine on December 18. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, 21-28 days apart, respectively. The second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose (i.e., you cannot get one dose of Moderna and the other from Pfizer, or vice versa).

Q. How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. According to the FDA and CDC (2020), The Pfizer (95%) and the Moderna (94.1%) vaccines are both highly effective (~95%) at preventing illness for COVID-19 after both doses are received.

Q. How can I get a vaccine if I am eligible?

A. As of January 20th, Los Angeles County residents 65 years and older and healthcare workers can go online to schedule their appointments, or call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. for assistance with reservations.

City of Pasadena is also providing vaccinations to healthcare workers and those 65+ who reside or practice in the city – must have a Pasadena residential or business address. Seniors in Pasadena can fill out this form if they would like to note their interest in getting the vaccine, or call  (626) 744-7311 .

Q. When will other groups get the vaccine?

A. There is a high level of interest in the vaccine, which is wonderful news. We appreciate everyone’s tolerance as this important resource is deployed within the guidelines which prioritize individuals by risk, and would like to note:

  • Los Angeles is the most populous county in the entire nation, with more than 10 million residents.
  • The vaccination process is dependent on supply of vaccine and the availability of individuals to administer it.

We ask you to remain hopeful and patient as this process unfolds; everyone who wants a vaccine will ultimately be offered one. 

As for what we can all do until everyone who wants a vaccine has been offered one: we must continue to follow the guidelines related to masking, distancing and not gathering with those outside of our household. Now is the time for us to double down on our efforts to keep ourselves, our families and our community safe.

Q. How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

A. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines increase the body’s immune response by making antibodies. These antibodies block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from injecting itself into human cells, thereby preventing it from reproducing and making you sick.

Q. Do the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain live viruses?

A. No. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine do not have live virus in it. You cannot become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Q. Is the vaccine safe?

A. Yes. At Huntington Health Physicians we believe the vaccine is safe. There have been no reported serious safety concerns from the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The CDC and the FDA continue to monitor individuals who have received the vaccine to ensure there’s no evidence of even rare safety issues. COVID-19 can be a fatal or debilitating disease, even in young, healthy people. The risks from contracting the virus are greater than the possible risks from receiving the vaccine.

We encourage you to read this Mayo Clinic article debunking COVID-19 vaccine myths.

Click to read the Mayo Clinic “COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked” article.

Q. What are potential side effects to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. In ongoing clinical trials, the most common side effects included:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Mild fever

Most side effects reported were mild to moderate in severity and resolved within 24 hours.  More people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

As with any vaccine, there is a low chance of allergic reaction. If you have a history of severe allergicreaction to other vaccines, please talk to your physician about whether you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Q. How is the vaccine administered?

A. The Pfizer vaccine is given in two shots, three weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine is given in two shots, four weeks apart. Both vaccines are given as an injection into the muscle. You must receive the same vaccine for both doses.

Q. How long will I have immunity for after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. We do not know yet. Clinical studies have so far followed patients for only a few months after vaccination. Patients in the studies will eventually be followed for two years. After that, we should know more about how long immunity lasts.  It is possible you will need a booster shot in the future.

Q. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. For most people, the answer is yes. The vaccine is currently authorized for use in people 16 years of age and older for Pfizer and 18 and older for Moderna. You should not get the vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine, or if you had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine.

Q. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated?

A. Yes. While individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 do produce antibodies, the antibody levels and how long they last are not known. If you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test, you can wait 90 days before getting a vaccine.

However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.

Q. Can I choose which vaccine I will receive?

A. No. The state determines the volume and types of shots made available to HHP. It is important that you receive the same vaccine for both doses. At this time, vaccines cannot be “mixed.” For example, if you receive the Pfizer vaccine for your first dose, you must get a Pfizer vaccine for your second dose. This is the same for the Moderna vaccine.

Q. Will I need to still need wear a mask after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

A. Yes. While data suggest the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are very effective, no vaccine is 100% effective, and we do not yet know how long immunity will last after getting the two required shots. Therefore, we must continue to follow public health guidelines, such as wearing a face covering, practicing hand hygiene, social distancing and avoiding indoor crowds.

Q. Under what circumstances should somebody not receive the vaccine?

A. You should not get the vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine, or if you had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine – unless you have been cleared by your physician.

You can find the ingredients for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and additional vaccine information on the FDA website.

You can also find the ingredients for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and additional vaccine information on the FDA website.

You should talk to your health care provider to decide if the vaccine is right for you if any of the following apply:

  • You have a history of severe allergic reactions
  • You are immunocompromised or are on a medication that affects your immune system

CDC: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States

Q. Can the vaccine give you COVID-19?

A. No. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use only a gene from the virus while other vaccines being studied use inactivated virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.

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

A. It normally takes about two to three weeks for cellular immunity to develop and roughly six weeks for a full antibody response.

Q. Can I go to work after my vaccine?

A. Yes. You may experience some mild side effects for the next 2 days, this is common – it is the body producing antibodies and are not a sign of infection. However, should you develop a fever (≥100.5°F) or your symptoms do not resolve within 2 days from onset (i.e., persist >4 days post vaccination) or symptoms develop >2 days after vaccination, please contact your healthcare provider.

Q. It is better to get vaccinated or contract the virus naturally?

A. It is better to get vaccinated. Getting the actual COVID-19 disease is much worse.

With the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you get only one piece of the virus’s RNA, which is not able to replicate itself or spread. However, it does help you build up antibodies to keep the spike protein from infecting your cells. When the virus that causes COVID-19, called SARS-CoV-2, infects a cell, it injects all of its own genetic material into the cell to begin replicating itself. Contracting the virus naturally can cause both direct damage to cells and inflammation due to your immune system reacting, which can harm the entire body.  In addition, you risk infecting other people around you if you contract the virus.

Q. Should I be worried about an mRNA vaccine? Is this a new technology?

A. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology, used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, is new, but not unknown. While this is the first time mRNA has been used in a licensed vaccine, the structure and technology have been studied for years. In fact, the CDC notes that small, early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been conducted for the flu, Zika and rabies. Advancements in biology and chemistry have improved mRNA vaccine safety and efficacy, and it is now thought to be less dangerous than other types of vaccines.

Q. Can the COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA?

A. No. There is no way for the COVID-19 vaccine to alter your genetic material (DNA). This is a bit confusing, but mRNA is a short-lived, temporary messenger, and it only works in one direction. The RNA does not interact with your DNA and never enters the part of the cell where your DNA is located.

Q. Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility or sterility?

A. No. There’s absolutely no evidence that the vaccine interferes with fertility.

Q. Can I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or plan to become pregnant?

A. Talk to your OB or primary physician to discuss the risks and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant or lactating individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups.

ACOG – Practice Advisory

Q. Will the state of California require the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. No. Just like getting the flu vaccine is not mandatory, getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory either. However, it will likely be highly encouraged as a way to protect yourself and those around you.

Q. If a person is infected with COVID-19 and recovers, are they immune?

A. The quickest answer is, we don’t know. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. The protection someone gains from having an infection (called natural immunity) varies depending on the viral load, and it varies from person to person.

Q. I had my 1st dose already – can I get COVID-19 from someone that is COVID-positive?

A. Yes – you can still contract COVID-19 from someone. After the 1st dose you do get some form of protection, which takes the body a few weeks to build. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection – plus you have not had the full protective immunity established by the 2nd dose. According to Dr. Fauci, “You get some degree, not optimal, but some degree of immunity a couple of weeks after the first dose. That’s not optimal. After the second dose, you get optimal immunity anywhere from seven to 10 days after the second dose.”  However, because you had at least the 1st dose, you may experience a lesser severity of the disease.

Q. After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

A. No. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines cannot cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. Viral tests can be nucleic acid or antigen type tests – our physicians at HHP utilizes a nucleic acid test called reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

For example: If you have had your 1st dose vaccine and your COVID-19 test results are positive – unfortunately, you are positive for COVID-19 and will have to quarantine.

Q. What is herd immunity?

A. Herd immunity is when enough of a population has built up immunity to a virus that it can no longer easily spread. Researchers estimate that the United States would reach herd immunity for COVID-19 only after at least 60% to 70% of the population — about 200 million people —has been vaccinated.

In-Office Care

We understand safety is a major concern when seeking medical attention. Rest assured, your safety is our top priority when visiting our offices. We’ve updated our operations following all recommended guidelines from leading health authorities, including Huntington Hospital’s Infection Control Department. To learn about our operational updates and safety guidelines to follow during your next in-office appointment, click here.

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:

  • Do not attend gatherings with members outside of your immediate household
  • Stay home as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary travel
  • When in public, practice social distancing and properly wear basic protective equipment, such as a surgical mask or cloth face covering. 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 below in the “Valuable Resources” section.

If you are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, but have none of the above symptoms, we encourage you to visit one of the following credible websites for more information:

World Health Organization (WHO):  https://www.who.int/

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):  https://www.cdc.gov/

Pasadena Public Health Department:  https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:  http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/

Huntington Hospital: https://www.huntingtonhospital.org/hhpcovid19

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

COVID-19 UPDATE: Learn about up-to-date vaccine information.  >> READ MORE
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