With vaccines helping to slow the spread of the virus, MemorialCare is proud that, as a system, we’ve provided more than 158,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to our community.
If you are a MemorialCare Medical Group patient and are eligible for the vaccine, you should have already received a communication from us through myChart, text message, telephone call, or email to let you know how to schedule your vaccine appointment. If you did not hear from us and are still interested in receiving the vaccine, please call our MemorialCare Navigation Center at 877-MYMEMCARE (696-3622).
Required - Consent for Minors:
All patients between the ages 12-17 will need to have written consent from their legal guardian to receive their vaccination. When scheduling for those under 18, please make sure you schedule an appointment at one of our Pfizer clinics only. For consent forms (parental and third-party) and further information on vaccinating this population, please see our FAQ below.
We appreciate being able to care for you and your safety is of high concern to us. Please continue to wear your mask, perform hand hygiene and stay at least 6 feet away from non-household contacts.
Once you are notified that it is time to schedule your appointment, the fastest and easiest way to schedule will be through myChart. You can self-sign up online for an account here. Once in the portal, make sure your contact information is up-to-date. Those with existing myChart accounts who need to reset their password can find help here.
There is an FAQ vaccine webpage on the GNP website. We recommend you visit it often for updates.
Please see the most common questions and answers related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Through a contract with the state of California, Blue Shield of California oversees the vaccine allocation and distribution to the different health systems, pharmacies, supermarkets, and others who are administering the vaccine to individuals. MemorialCare remains in close communication with Blue Shield to ensure we receive a steady supply of vaccine. In general, we get a limited shipment of vaccine delivered to our hospitals and select vaccine clinics on a weekly basis, although it is not guaranteed that we will always get the vaccine supply or brand we request.
Currently, there are three vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Each is administered similar to a flu shot and given in the muscle of the upper arm:
The Pfizer and German partner BioNTech Vaccine was the first to receive EUA from the FDA on December 11, 2020.
The Moderna (in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) Vaccine received EUA from the FDA on December 18, 2020.
The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson) received EUA from the FDA on February 27, 2021.
* There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine and its efficacy as compared to Pfizer's and Moderna's. Our clinical experts have studied this issue and advise that it’s not possible to accurately compare the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine against these other two vaccines. The vaccine developers of each designed their clinical trials to test for different outcomes. J&J’s trials tested whether one of its doses protected against moderate to severe COVID illness and the Pfizer and Moderna trials tested for symptomatic COVID infection. In addition, the J&J vaccine was tested in different geographic locations around the world and against the variants that have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were tested earlier in the pandemic, prior to the emergence of the new variants. In the end, all three vaccines do what they are designed to do—prevent severe complications, hospitalization and death due to the coronavirus.
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE:
On April 13, 2021, the CDC and FDA temporarily put a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Concerned about reports of rare blood clots that developed in six individuals—out of the almost seven million people who had already received this vaccine—these agencies paused its use to conduct a thorough safety review. After ten days, they concluded that while the J&J vaccine caused the blood clots, it was an extremely rare occurrence and therefore, the benefits of receiving this vaccine far outweigh the risks. On April 23rd, they lifted the pause and recommended resuming the use of this vaccine. See their report.
For Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines—Maximum immunity reached 5-6 weeks after both doses. In general, after a person receives the first dose of a vaccine, they will start to develop some immunity within 2-4 weeks, but this is not full or sufficient immunity to protect against disease. The vaccines require the second ‘booster’ dose to reach full 94.5% or 95% immunity which can take an additional one-two weeks after receiving the second dose. For the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine—Maximum immunity reached within four weeks (28 days). This vaccine's protection against moderate to severe disease starts about two weeks after a person gets vaccinated. By four weeks after the shot, data from the clinical trials showed there were no hospitalizations or deaths.
As for how long the immunity lasts for any of these three vaccines, this is still not fully known. At this point, we cannot say whether repeat vaccination, for instance on an annual basis, will be necessary.
When you are scheduling your vaccine appointment, in most cases you will find that clinics provide information on which vaccine brand they are administering. Simply choose a clinic with your preferred vaccine brand.
Remember that depending on your age, you may not have a choice of vaccine. For example, if you are age 12-17, you may only receive the Pfizer vaccine. But if you are age 18 and above, you are eligible for all three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. When scheduling an appointment through the MemorialCare myChart open scheduling feature, you will be asked your age so that you can be directed to a clinic administering the correct vaccine.
Which vaccine should I get?
The best vaccine is the one you have access to first. Each vaccine is virtually 100% effective in saving your life from COVID – and they will allow us to get back to the things we love and miss.
We have set up vaccine clinics in select MCMG health centers in Long Beach and Orange County.For our MemorialCare Medical Group patients:
When a patient becomes eligible for the vaccine, we send them a notification on how to schedule their appointment. They can then choose a location, date and time to be vaccinated at one of our vaccine clinics.A MemorialCare Medical Group (MCMG) patient is defined as an individual who has been treated at one of our facilities within the last 24 months. We follow the California Department of Public Health's vaccine eligibility guidelines which currently state anyone 12 years of age and above are eligible for the vaccine. MCMG patients who fit the criteria should have already received a communication from us through myChart, text message, telephone call or email to let them know how to schedule a vaccine appointment at one of our vaccine clinics. For patients who have not received a communication from us but are still interested in receiving the vaccine, please call our MemorialCare Navigation Center at 877-MYMEMCARE (696-3622).For patients and for non-patients:
Anyone can schedule an appointment at select MemorialCare vaccine clinic locations through the state's website - My Turn.
Vaccine clinics outside of MemorialCare:
There are also a number of non-MemorialCare locations where one can get vaccinated. For more information, look for the question in this FAQ: "Are there additional sites outside of MemorialCare that are providing vaccinations?"
On May 10, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to include individuals 12 years of age and older. To learn more, see the FDA's Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet.
Will parents be required to bring proof of the minor's age (birth certificate, etc.)?
No, we are not requiring parents to bring birth certificates. Does an individual under the age of 18 need to be accompanied by an adult to get the COVID Vaccine?
Individuals under the age of 18 need a parent, legal guardian, or agent to give consent for the COVID Vaccine.
Can a parent send an adult friend or family member (agent) to give consent for the Covid Vaccine?
Prior to the minor receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, what forms must be completed?
If a minor arrives for their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine without an adult, is it possible for the parent or legal guardian to provide verbal consent?
If you prefer, you always have the option of seeking the COVID-19 vaccine elsewhere. Most cities and counties have set up vaccine stations, plus select pharmacy and supermarket sites (e.g. CVS, Albertsons, Rite Aid, Vons, Walgreens) offer the vaccine as well through the Federal supply system.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
The CDC's website provides the following information for those seeking vaccine locations near to home.
Statewide Vaccination site:
All California residents can sign up through MyTurn to register for a vaccine appointment. You will receive updates about new appointments and locations. Scheduling appointments at some MemorialCare vaccine clinics are also now available through the state's MyTurn website.
Orange County residents:
Schedule your vaccine appointment by going to Othena.com.
Long Beach residents:
While the city is maintaining its VAXLB website to provide information, including links to pharmacy and supermarket vaccine locations, they are directing residents to the state's MyTurn site to register for an appointment.
Los Angeles residents:Schedule your vaccine appointment through the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department's website.
Pharmacies and Supermarkets:
Those interested in getting vaccinated at their local pharmacy or supermarket should check those individual businesses' websites. Go here to find out more about this Federal program. Plus, the GoodRx website, which collects vaccine inventory and appointments from sites across the country, is an additional resource to help one find out about locations in California.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on all of our lives and those of our loved ones. We all want to get back to a time when we can feel safe and protected so that we can return to doing the things we enjoy. The only way for that to happen is for the spread of this virus to be stopped. That point will occur when we achieve something called “herd immunity,” meaning enough people are immune that the virus is unlikely to be spread from one person to another because those people have immunity already. This typically occurs when 60-70% of the population has been vaccinated, but because of the increased infectivity of the COVID-19 variant most common in the U.S., this number is estimated to be 80%.
We understand if you have concerns about getting vaccinated, especially since there is a lot of misinformation circulating about these new vaccines. To help answer some of those questions and address vaccine hesitancy concerns, you may want to visit our “Get the Shot” webpage. We encourage you to learn for yourself what medical experts have told us about these vaccines and, ultimately, make the right choice for you, your family and our community.
Before any of the three COVID-19 vaccines received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they each underwent multiple phases of clinical trials. In late-stage trials, they were tested and monitored on tens of thousands of human volunteers. Additionally, it is important to understand that the technology for these vaccines was built on 20 years of research and science, using processes that have been developed and tested over many years.
And since receiving EUA from the FDA, COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to millions of individuals worldwide. While these numbers will continue to rise, as of late May 2021, in the U.S. alone, more than a quarter-billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and almost 125 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. Widespread use of these vaccines has shown that they are safe, are effective at reducing severe illness and death (in the US, only 0.6%—or 6 out of every 1,000 people—have developed COVID-19 symptoms after having been vaccinated) and are helping to reduce the spread of the virus. This degree of protection is a remarkable achievement for any vaccine.
Additionally, as exhibited during April's 10-day Johnson & Johnson vaccine “pause and resume" period, the federal agencies, along with the support of the health systems, have a system in place that allows for continuous reporting and monitoring of these COVID vaccines for all side effects and adverse events throughout their use. If determined unsafe, the FDA has the authority to ban the use of any of these vaccines.
Regarding the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine “Pause and Resume”:
On April 13, 2021, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they investigated reports of a small number of women in the U.S. who developed a rare and severe type of blood clot within the two weeks following receipt of this vaccine. Ten days later, on April 23rd, and after a thorough review, these agencies lifted the pause and announced that the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could resume. Read the CDC’s report.
Following the CDC and FDA’s recent recommendation that the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine resume after what had been a 10-day pause for investigation, the CDC’s website concluded the following:
If you have any concerns about your health, whether related to vaccination or otherwise, please contact your primary care physician immediately. Of course, if you feel you are having a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
For more information on this vaccine, visit the CDC’s J&J vaccine update webpage
No. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a completely different method of causing immunity to the COVID-19 virus than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The blood clotting problem reported in these few cases of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have not been reported in the tens of millions of people receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The recommended interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are:
If you receive either of these vaccines, you should get your second shot as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.
It is possible you may experience side effects after vaccination. This can be normal and is often a sign that your body is activating to protect you. For most people, the symptoms are typically mild and last only a day or two. Some people may feel one or more of the following after vaccination, though many don’t notice anything at all beyond a sore arm near the site of the shot:
Side effects are not something you should worry about unless you know you have a specific allergy to an ingredient in the medication (see the question: “Are there any groups of people who should or should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine?”) or have a history of severe allergies (called anaphylaxis) to another vaccine or injectable medication.
Currently, the vaccines are not recommended for all ages. While the Pfizer vaccine is not recommended for those below the age of 12, both the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not recommended for those below age 18.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women:
Although pregnant and breastfeeding women did not take part in any vaccine clinical trials, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has issued a statement that pregnant and nursing women should not be excluded from receiving a vaccine. If a woman has concerns, it is advised they discuss the vaccine with their physician.
Mammograms and the vaccines:
The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccinations, stimulates your immune system. This can cause a temporary enlargement of lymph nodes near where the person was vaccinated. Those lymph nodes can sometimes be seen by the radiologist reading your mammogram and make it appear to be abnormal even when you are OK and there is no indication of cancer. Since enlarged lymph nodes can result in a “false positive” on your mammogram, you could get a request to return for further testing — a call-back — which can be unsettling.
Therefore, mammograms should be scheduled before your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or four to six weeks after the last dose. That way, there is time for your lymph nodes to return to their normal size. As with any testing recommended by your healthcare provider, women age 40 and above should not delay recommended mammographic screening.Fetal cells and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
The Catholic Church has issued an ethics statement regarding the involvement of a cell line derived from a 1985 aborted fetus in the original development of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (noting that there is no fetal tissue or product in the vaccine itself). While some U.S. Catholic leaders have issued opinions opposed to use of the vaccine, a statement from the Vatican recognizes the greater good for use of the J&J vaccine to prevent disease and death and considers it morally acceptable.
Additionally, the local Diocese of Orange has addressed the issue of the vaccines in the following video:Click here for EnglishClick here for Spanish subtitles
Those with allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients:
The following three vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives or latex. The ingredients for each vaccine are listed below, but for more information on each vaccine along with individual vaccine fact sheets, please visit the CDC's vaccine webpage.
Medical experts recommend that people who have had COVID-19 still get vaccinated. It isn’t clear yet how long immunity lasts after an actual infection and some people that are infected with COVID-19 don’t make a lot of something called neutralizing antibodies. These are antibodies that directly block the ability of the virus to enter your cells. The vaccines help you to develop a high level of those neutralizing antibodies and stimulate your body to remember this for later so that you should have immunity for even longer. There are cases where a person has had COVID-19 and recovered and later gets re-infected. Getting vaccinated will help prevent that.If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, when should you get the vaccine? The risk of re-infection after having had COVID-19 is very low in the first 90 days, so you may choose to wait that long, although waiting is not necessary. Of course, people with current COVID-19 symptoms should wait until their acute illness has resolved before being vaccinated, which is about 10 days after the start of symptoms or a positive test.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new masking recommendations on May 28, 2021, the state of California delayed adopting them until June 15, 2021, to align with the reopening of California's economy.
Below is a brief overview of the state’s new masking recommendations. To view the full policy, visit the California Department of Public Health's website. Please note, individual businesses are encouraged to set their own procedures for how to validate vaccination – for example, self-attest, show proof, or continue requiring all patrons to wear a mask.>> FULLY VACCINATED individuals do not have to wear masks in most settings, such as grocery stores, gyms, bars, movies, places of worship, etc.
>> NON-VACCINATED or PARTIALLY VACCINATED individuals are required to wear a mask in indoor public settings and businesses, such as retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public.
>> EVERYONE is required to wear a mask in the following settings, regardless of vaccination status:
*Per both the CDC and California Department of Public Health (CDPH), any change in masking does not apply to healthcare settings. Although there is accumulating evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can reduce the risk of asymptomatic infection as well as “viral load,” it is clear that it is not to the same extent as symptomatic prevention. Thus, there remains a risk of unknowingly transmitting an infection to someone else who is susceptible. Since healthcare settings are more likely to contain immuno-incompetent or other high-risk populations, continuing to wear a mask in these settings will help protect patients who are most vulnerable.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has developed the state’s prioritization guidelines which outline the phases in which individuals and groups are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. MemorialCare is following the CDPH's guidelines which, from time to time, get revised.
The CDPH’s GuidelinesLatest Update: May 12, 2021
Based on available supply, individuals described below are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.Phase 1a—
All hospitals and healthcare providers who administer the COVID-19 vaccination doses are required to report this information to the California Immunization Registry (CAIR) within 24 hours. In order to be able to do this, they must be registered with CAIR and have an immunization information system ID number. Vaccine providers must also report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) any moderate and/or severe adverse events following a vaccination.
For more information on COVID-19 and the vaccines, please visit the CDC website:COVID-19Vaccines
During the early stages of the global pandemic, MemorialCare was among the first in our region to participate in COVID-19-related research studies. Our efforts around treatments such as Remdesivir, Regeneron and convalescent plasma showed positive results in patients and helped lead the way for widespread use of these methods.
Track the progress of the vaccines at MemorialCare.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is first vaccine authorized for the prevention of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
MemorialCare’s four hospitals – Orange Coast Medical Center, Saddleback Medical Center, Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach – each received a first shipment with 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Following the CDC guidelines for Phase 1-A vaccination prioritization, MemorialCare starts to vaccinate its high-risk healthcare providers who care for COVID-19 patients.
The Moderna vaccine becomes the second COVID-19 vaccine approved for use after the FDA grants emergency use authorization.
By this day, more than 3,000 of MemorialCare’s high-risk healthcare providers have been vaccinated.
MemorialCare’s four hospitals have now each received their second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.
As of this day, more than 6,000 of our high-risk healthcare providers have been vaccinated with a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The first shipment (2,500 doses) of the Moderna vaccine arrived at our Long Beach and Orange County facilities.
As of this day, more than 8,000 of our high-risk healthcare providers have received a first dose of the vaccine.
California announced today that people 65 years and older should be next in line to receive the vaccine.
As of this day, more than 10,000 of our high-risk healthcare providers have received a first dose of the vaccine.
As of this day, more than 10,700 of our high-risk healthcare providers have received a first dose of the vaccine.
We have administered more than 15,900 first doses, the vast majority to our healthcare workers, and as of last week, to a growing number of patients and community members.
We have administered more than 25,000 vaccine doses to healthcare workers, patients and community members.
We have administered more than 40,000 vaccine doses to healthcare workers, patients and community members.
We have administered more than 60,000 vaccine doses to healthcare workers, patients and community members.
We have administered more than 90,000 vaccine doses to healthcare workers, patients and community members.
We have administered more than 100,000 vaccine doses to healthcare workers, patients and community members.
We have administered more than 116,000 vaccine doses to members of our communities.
We have administered more than 139,000 vaccine doses to members of our communities.
We have administered more than 146,000 vaccine doses to members of our communities.
We have administered more than 152,000 vaccine doses to members of our communities.
We have administered more than 158,000 vaccine doses to members of our communities.
MemorialCare’s Chief Medical Officer answers your COVID-19 vaccine questions.
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