Last updated: June 18, 2021
We’re making steady progress in providing vaccinations to our community. From the start, we have followed the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines for vaccine eligibility which currently states that any Californian age 12 and above can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are a GNP patient who is age 12 and above, you should have already received a communication from us informing you that you were now eligible for the vaccine along with instructions on how to schedule your appointment. If you did not hear from us and are still interested in receiving the vaccine, please call our Customer Service Center at 800-553-6537.
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.
Contacting you through email is the fastest way to reach you to provide details on how to schedule your appointment. To help us, please visit gnpweb.com/info and complete our online form to provide your email address. Please do not call your physician’s office to inquire about scheduling a vaccine appointment since they will not have any additional information.
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 all vaccine allocation and distribution to the different health systems, pharmacies, supermarkets, and others who are administering the vaccine to individuals. Greater Newport Physicians, in partnership with 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 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 from COVID.
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.
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 COVID-19 to include individuals 12 years of age and older. To learn more, see the FDA's Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet.
No, we are not requiring parents to bring birth certificates.
Individuals under the age of 18 need a parent, legal guardian, or agent to give consent for the COVID Vaccine.
Individuals between the ages of 16 - 17 years of age do NOT have to have their parent, legal guardian or authorized third-party agent present. The parent or legal guardian must review the FDA's Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet . The parent or legal guardian may sign the Covid-19 Vaccine Consent Form in advance and have their child bring it to the COVID Vaccine appointment. Staff will call the parent and/or legal guardian to confirm consent over the phone at the time the teenager presents for the COVID vaccine.
If the parent or legal guardian cannot accompany the minor, they can complete the Third-Party Consent Form to authorize a third-party agent (the agent) to accompany the minor and consent to the vaccination. A third-party agent (example: aunt, grandma, neighbor) must be an adult of 18 years or older.
The completed and signed Third-Party Consent Form must be brought to the vaccine appointment. The agent named in the Third-Party Consent Form can complete the Covid-19 Vaccine Consent Form on the parent’s behalf. Minors presenting with third-party agent MUST bring the signed Third-Party Consent Form each time they present for a vaccine dose.
For patients under the age of 16, the parent, legal guardian and/or authorized agent must accompany the minor to the vaccine clinic to provide consent in person and support the child.
If the parent or legal guardian is sending an agent to consent on their behalf, the parent or legal guardian must complete the Third-Party Consent Form which authorizes another adult (18 or over) to accompany the minor to the clinic and consent to the vaccine. The signed Third-Party Consent Form must be brought to the clinic at the time of the vaccination. While at the clinic, the agent will be able to sign the COVID Vaccination Consent Form on the parent and/or legal guardian’s behalf.
We encourage either a parent, legal guardian and/or authorized third-party agent accompany their child to all appointments.
Individuals between the ages of 16 - 17 years of age do NOT have to have their parent, legal guardian or authorized third-party agent present. The parent or legal guardian must review the Pfizer EUA. The parent or legal guardian may sign the Covid-19 Vaccine Consent Form in advance and have their child bring it to the COVID Vaccine appointment. Staff will call the parent and/or legal guardian to confirm consent over the phone at the time the teenager presents for the COVID vaccine.
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.
And since receiving EUA from the FDA, COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to millions of individuals worldwide. While these numbers are expected to 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, and are helping to reduce the spread of the virus.
Additionally, as has been exhibited during the recent Johnson & Johnson vaccine “pause and resume,” 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.
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 administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could resume. Read the report.
It is possible you may experience side effects after vaccination. This is normal for each of the vaccine brands. Recipients have complained of pain at the injection site, fatigue, chills, fever, muscle aches, nausea, redness of the skin, swelling, and headaches. For most people, the side effects of these vaccines are mild or moderate and last only a day or two.
Allergic Reaction – All Vaccines
People who have a history of anaphylaxis to another vaccine or injectable medication should be carefully monitored for 30 minutes if they choose to get the vaccine. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic overreaction of the body’s immune system, which can be life-threatening. Those concerned or who have been told by their healthcare provider to carry an EpiPen should speak with their physician before receiving the vaccine.
Rare Blood Clot - Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
After thoroughly investigating the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC and FDA concluded that there is a plausible causal relationship between this vaccine and a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS) occurring primarily in women between the ages 18-49. However, due to its rarity (7 individuals per every 1 million vaccinated), the two agencies continue to recommend the use of this vaccine for all people, stating that the benefits outweigh the very small risk. For more information, look for the question: “Should I be concerned about the risk of blood clots with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? What are the symptoms to look for?”
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.
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 partner MemorialCare’s “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.
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.
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. Greater Newport Physicians is following the CDPH's guidelines which, from time to time, get revised.
The CDPH’s GuidelinesLatest Update: May 12, 2021Based on available supply, individuals described below are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
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.
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.
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.
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