• 530.541.3420 | 2170 South Avenue, S. Lake Tahoe, CA

Vaccination Rollout and Distribution

COVID-19 vaccines help protect people who are vaccinated from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19 and may also help protect people around them. Get a vaccine as soon as you can; widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to anyone age 12 and over (individuals age 12-17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine). Local health departments, select pharmacies and health systems are administering vaccines.

Vaccination Opportunities

  • South Lake Tahoe - Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Walk-in Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, June 16 from 3-7pm (Bijou Elementary School: 3501 Spruce Avenue, South Lake Tahoe)
    • Join family nurse practitioner, Kelly Vial, for an overview of the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as Q&A.
    • Walk-ins welcome to receive their J&J vaccine--only one shot required.
    • This clinic is FREE and will only require one shot for those age 18 and over (for adolescents, 12 years or older, please call the Family Resource Center to reserve a Pfizer vaccine shot for the same day: 530.542.0740).

  • Barton Health - Individuals who received a first Pfizer dose at Barton's May 21 drive-up clinic will also need a second Pfizer dose scheduled, which may or may not be through Barton Health. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be received three weeks after the first, and no later than six weeks after the first dose. Use myturn.ca.gov or check regional options offering Pfizer second doses include Safeway, Rite Aid and CVS.

  • California Residents - All California residents are encouraged to use California' s MyTurn tool to receive appointment availability notifications.

  • Nevada ResidentsNevada residents can use Immunize Nevada's vaccine finder tool to search for nearby vaccination opportunities.

    Quad-County Public Health Preparedness Program is vaccinating individuals age 16 and older via Carson City Health and Human Services (call 800.401.0946).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe? Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Currently the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the Johnson & Johnson-Janssen viral vector vaccine.
    While the federal program “Operation Warp Speed” implies accelerated development, the approval process for these vaccines followed all necessary safety steps. The standard research process was followed, but expedited due to increased federal funding of the clinical trials. Additionally, it was easy to meet the required sample sizes since COVID-19 was so widespread throughout the country. 
  2. What are the different types of vaccines currently available? Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology, which is different from typical vaccines in that they don't inject particles of live or altered virus. Instead, these vaccines send a code into your cells so your immune system learns how to make a spike protein that looks like the protein on the outside of coronavirus-19. Your immune system is not making the actual virus. Your immune system then learns how to make antibodies against the spike protein. Both vaccines require two doses for maximum protection; Pfizer recommends the second dose 21 days after the first; Moderna recommends the second dose 28 days after the first. You must get your second dose from the same manufacturer as the first.
    Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is a one dose viral vector vaccine; it uses a cold virus like a Trojan horse to carry the spike gene into the body, where cells make harmless copies of the protein to prime the immune system for the real virus.
    The vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness or death.
  3. What are the side effects? Common side effects include redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site, as well as feeling tired, developing lymph node swelling (most commonly in your armpit), a headache or fever and chills, while less common symptoms include nausea and vomiting. Side effects are more common after the second dose, with over 75% of vaccinated people developing at least one side effect. Nearly all symptoms lasted less than three days (72 hours) and most improved with Tylenol or ibuprofen. This response is your immune system activating, not an indication that you are infected with the virus. Note: the vaccine does not cause symptoms typical of coronavirus such as runny nose or cough; if you experience these symptoms, you should isolate and seek care.
  4. Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine nor will your COVID-19 screening tests become positive due to receiving the vaccine. Additionally you are not contagious once you’ve received the vaccine. However, there is still not enough evidence on whether the vaccines prevent asymptomatic infection so it is important that those who have been vaccinated continue social distancing and wearing a mask until the general population is mostly vaccinated.
  5. Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA? No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized and recommended for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and a viral vector vaccine. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
  6. Does the vaccine contain a microchip? No, the vaccine does not contain a microchip. The independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), composed of clinicians and scientists who are not part of or paid by the pharmaceutical companies, reviewed the vaccine and deemed it safe and effective.
  7. When will I be immune to COVID-19? Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after their second dose of Pfizer/ Moderna or two weeks after receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is still being determined how long you will have protection once you receive a full dose. 
  8. Does the vaccine keep me from getting or giving COVID-19? At this point, we do not know if you can still transmit the virus after vaccination. What we do know is those vaccinated will have fewer symptomatic COVID-19 infections AND the small percentage who may still get COVID-19 will be much less likely to experience serious illness or death.
  9. If I am vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask and social distance?  No, vaccinated people are able to come together without masks in most circumstances. Restrictions vary by state; check with local public health officials in your state or when you travel.
  10. If I’ve had COVID-19 should I get the vaccine? Yes, even if you have had COVID-19, we recommend the vaccination as there have been cases of patients being infected with COVID-19 more than once and the vaccines appear to provide improved protection for those who have previously been infected. It is recommended you are not contagious with the virus and are cleared by healthcare provider prior to receiving the vaccine.
  11. If I am pregnant/ breastfeeding should I receive the vaccine? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as Barton’s OB/GYN physician group, recommends the current vaccines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should discuss their options with their healthcare provider if they have further questions.
  12. Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day? Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will continue to study them for many years.
  13. When can I be vaccinated? Any individual age 12 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. California residents should sign up for MyTurn to receive notifications about vaccination opportunities and Nevada residents may use Immunize Nevada's vaccine locator tool.
  14. How much does the vaccine cost? The COVID-19 vaccine is paid for by the U.S. Government and provided at no charge, however vaccine administrators may charge a fee for giving the shot(s).
  15. Can the CDC mandate that I get a COVID-19 vaccine? No. The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for people. Additionally, CDC does not maintain or monitor a person’s vaccination records. Whether a state or local government or employer, for example, can require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law icon. Please contact your state government or employer if you have other questions about COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

Pre-Vaccination Questions

  1. What about my history of anaphylaxis? Additional information with continued vaccination confirms that the incidence of anaphylaxis is similar to that after all vaccinations. Any allergic reactions related to the vaccine should occur within four hours of receiving the vaccine, but most commonly within 30 minutes.
  2. What if I get symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or catch COVID-19 around the time I am supposed to get my vaccination? Please do not come in for your vaccine if you are suspected of having COVID-19, or are supposed to be isolating or under quarantine.
  3. What if I have already had COVID-19 and/ or get COVID-19 between my first and second dose? What if my antibody test is positive?
    • Complete your isolation period and recover from the illness prior to considering a vaccination dose. Please speak with a healthcare provider to get clearance to receive your vaccination if you had COVID-19 within the last two weeks.
    • It is recommended that you still be vaccinated because current information indicates you lose immunity about 60-90 days after your coronavirus infection. It is believed that the vaccine will protect you significantly longer than 90 days.
    • Your positive antibody status should not impact the vaccine efficacy. Your vaccine-related symptoms may be more severe than someone who has not had COVID-19.
    • If you received monoclonal antibody treatment, you should not receive the vaccine for 90 days.
  4. I just got another vaccine for another reason- when can I get my COVID-19 vaccine? You should wait two weeks between any vaccines and your coronavirus vaccine.
  5. What if I have a procedure (radiology, joint injection or surgery) planned around the time of my vaccination? Because side effects from the vaccine are common, and procedures occasionally have complications, we recommend that you separate your procedures from your vaccine by about two weeks so that vaccine reactions and procedure complications are not confused.

Questions About The mRNA Second Dose

  1. What if I miss my second dose? The CDC recommends that you get your second dose within four days after your “target” date of 21 days (Pfizer BioNTech) or 28 days (Moderna). However, if you cannot make this window, you are still eligible to get your second dose at its earliest availability for up to six weeks (42 days) after your first dose.
  2. I had a reaction to the first dose vaccine. Should I get my second dose? In general, you can expect to get similar symptoms after your second dose of vaccine, but often they are more severe. If you experienced any allergic reaction such as facial swelling, difficulty breathing, hypotension, numbness or tingling or itching, you should not proceed with the second dose until discussing the risks with your care provider.
  3. Can I get a different type second dose than my first? No, you must get your second dose from the same manufacturer as the first.

Post-Vaccine Questions

  1. If I get COVID-19, will I be a monoclonal antibody candidate if I am vaccinated? Your vaccination should not impact your candidacy for monoclonal antibody; however, hopefully your own immune system is making antibodies and fighting the infection itself. More science and time is needed to know if the monoclonal antibody infusions are necessary/ impactful for those who have been vaccinated.
  2. Will this vaccine protect me from the new variants of coronavirus emerging in the UK or South Africa? It appears that the variant spike proteins are similar enough that the vaccine will still offer protection against the variant strains. At some point, the vaccine could mutate enough that we will need a different vaccine, but that isn’t necessary at this point.
  3. I have been vaccinated. Has anything changed for me? If I get sick, do I have to get tested? Can I get together with my parents/ others? After receiving both does of the vaccine, you are very well protected from severe illness and death from COVID-19. While you are less likely to get symptomatic COVID-19, you still can get COVID-19 and transmit it. Please continue to take precautions and follow public health guidance regarding masking and social distancing. If you have symptoms, do not ignore them. While your risk of mild COVID-19 may be lower, it is certainly possible to test positive after vaccination. Please call your health provider's office for guidance.

    As far as social gatherings are concerned, if you’ve been fully vaccinated you can gather without wearing a mask. People who are unvaccinated must continue to wear a mask indoors in public settings to protect themselves and others. Also, there are some settings where masking is still required for everyone, such as public transit, hospitals, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings.