ABOUT THE VACCINE
The COVID-19 Vaccine
In our immigrant and refugee communities, we often have extended families and communities. Our community comes together like a beautiful quilt with different shapes and colors. We are family. And family takes care of family. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster is a way to take care of our family.
We know our communities have valid reasons to distrust the health care system as many of our communities have historically experienced discrimination within the health care system.
But our communities have also been hardest hit by COVID-19 and many of us have experienced first hand the impact of COVID-19 and have lost loved ones. COVID-19 has never been seen before. Worldwide, as of this writing, 6,590,000 people have died of COVID-19.
According to The New York Times, over 1,000,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. In California, communities of color have been the hardest hit and that is unconscionable. According to data from the State of California:
The death rate for Latino people is 11% higher than the rate for all Californians;
Case rate for Pacific Islander people is 83% higher than the rate for all Californians;
Death rate for Black people is 19% higher than the rate for all Californians;
Case rate for communities with median income <$40K is 15% higher than the rate for all Californians
We must do better to ensure that the lessons learned from the pandemic are not forgotten.
The COVID-19 vaccine and bivalent booster works by teaching your body which proteins to produce to fight against future infection. Unfortunately, home remedies alone are not enough to keep us safe. Get vaccinated and boosted. By getting vaccinated and boosted, you will be protecting yourself, your family, and our community.
What You Need to Know
Who Can Get the Vaccine
Every Californian, aged 6 months and up, can get vaccinated. Every Californian, ages 5 years old and up, can get the bivalent booster. As eligibility expands, the California Department of Public Health will place updates on their COVID-19 website.
If you have chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, you should get the vaccine. Many people who have died of COVID-19 had comorbidities, or co-occurring conditions, like diabetes, etc. People with co-occurring disorders are at risk of having complications from COVID-19. The vaccine will help prevent initial infection.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are highly encouraged to receive the vaccine. The vaccine will not affect fertility or the ability to get pregnant.
If you are not currently sick, have not tested positive for COVID-19, or had any other vaccines in the last 14 days, you may get the vaccine. If you are not eligible, please consult with your doctor.
How to Prepare Yourself Before You Receive the Vaccine:
Get the facts about the different vaccines available from credible sources such as the Fresno County Health Department, California Department of Public Health, or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Wear a short sleeve shirt on the day you are going to get the vaccine.
Take your identification card or other document that verifies your identity
Some people experience muscle soreness and other side effects. Talk to your doctor about taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or another painkiller before you are scheduled to receive your vaccine to help minimize side effects.
Safety is a top priority and all four COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
There are four COVID-19 vaccines, which include primary series and boosters, recommended in the United States.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines.
Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine and can be given in some situations.
Vaccine recommendations are based on age, the first vaccine received, and time since last dose.
People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have specific recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters.
Side effects after a COVID-19 vaccine are common, however severe allergic reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are rare.
How COVID Vaccines Work in Your Body
Possible Side Effects of the Vaccine
Side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are normal signs your body is building protection. Side effects may even feel like flu and might affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
Common side effects include:
Severe allergic reactions are very rare. If severe reactions do happen, it's usually within minutes. Trained staff will observe you for 15 minutes after receiving your dose.
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. According to the CDC, we know:
People who are up to date have lower risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than people who are unvaccinated or who have only received the primary series.
Updated COVID-19 boosters can help restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination. The updated boosters provide added protection against the recent Omicron subvariants that are more contagious than the previous ones. The recent subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are very closely related to the original variant, Omicron, with very small differences between itself and the original variant.
COVID-19 Vaccination & Immigration Status
The COVID-19 vaccine and booster is available to all Californians irrespective of your immigration status. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine won’t lead to any public charge.
Information collected from you while getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not be used in any way for immigration enforcement.
You may be asked for basic information like address and phone number. Community health workers, nurses, or staff involved in vaccination efforts won’t ask about your immigration status.
After Your Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get the vaccine?
Statistics show immigrant and refugee communities are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. To protect ourselves, and our community, it is important to get vaccinated. COVID-19 can cause serious illness. The vaccine helps your body build up antibodies to protect you from the virus. Get vaccinated to prevent getting COVID-19 and to protect your loved ones.
How was the vaccine developed so fast?
The vaccine was developed faster than other vaccines because of the number of scientists working on it worldwide, and the funds provided by the government and pharmaceutical companies. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
When can I get the vaccine?
According to the California Department of Public Health: "Everyone ages 6 months and older is eligible for a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. The eligibility requirements for additional doses for immunocompromised people vary by COVID-19 vaccine brand. Everyone ages 5+ should get a bivalent Pfizer or Moderna booster dose at least 2 months after completing their primary series. Adults ages 18+ who are unable to get a bivalent booster should get a monovalent Novavax booster learn more at least 6 months after completing their primary series."
What is the difference between the new bivalent and monovalent boosters? Which one should I get?
According to the California Department of Public Health:
The mRNA-based bivalent Pfizer and Moderna boosters target both the original and new strains of the virus. They offer the best protection against the types of COVID-19 you’re most likely to be exposed to now and in the future. Everyone ages 5+ who has completed a primary vaccination series or received a booster dose in the past should get a bivalent booster if it’s been at least 2 months since their last dose.
The protein-based monovalent Novavax booster only targets the original strain of the virus and is an option for adults who are unable to get a bivalent booster due to a medical reason or lack of availability. Only people ages 18+ who completed a primary series at least 6 months ago and have not received a booster in the past are eligible for a Novavax booster.
What is Novavax? How is it different from other COVID-19 vaccines?
Novavax is a 2-dose series of COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the FDA for people ages 12+ (primary series) and 18+ (single monovalent booster dose). The ingredients in Novavax are protein-based like the flu vaccine, while both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA based. Learn more about the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.
NOTE: All vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious complications and hospitalization from COVID-19.
Data Highlights as of 8/24/2021
In Fresno County