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COVID-19 Vaccine Community Questions Answered & Additional Resources

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine as eligibility expands to all ages 16 and older

As of April 15, all California residents age 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This blog answers community questions about the vaccine, provides details on where to go to schedule your shot, and more.

Vaccine Supply Expanded & New Appointments Available Countywide

Recent good news on vaccine eligibility and increased supply will help ensure more community members who are eligible can sign up for the COVID-19 shot. Santa Clara County announced this week that it has added thousands of new vaccination appointments as supplies have increased and eligibility is expanded. Santa Clara County’s sccfreevax.org webpage page has information and updates, including links to locate vaccination appointments within the county. In addition, the State of California offers an online portal to find vaccine appointments anywhere in the state with a way to sign-up for alerts as vaccine appointments free up. Go to https://myturn.ca.gov/ for more details.

Individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated are encouraged, but not required, to contact their healthcare system to make an appointment. Under the County’s “no wrong door” policy, all providers are able to vaccinate eligible patients regardless of your healthcare provider or insurance. Health Care Provider COVID-19 online resources include: Stanford Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, El Camino Health and VA Palo Alto Health System

Health care provider websites and additional online resources are available on the Santa Clara County vaccine website here.

Residents without internet access or who need additional assistance can call 211 for assistance in multiple languages. Appointments fill up quickly, but new appointments will be regularly released as vaccine supply allows, and community members are encouraged to check regularly. In addition, for community members needing help getting to a vaccine appointment in Santa Clara County, the Valley Transportation Authority has created an interactive map for the public to find a list of the current vaccination locations, along with the bus or light rail routes to take to each site. Transit trips to vaccination sites​ are free.

For more on the County’s vaccine eligibility, watch a recent Santa Clara County press conference video, here:

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources to Learn More

Here are a few online resources to learn more about the vaccine and help you decide if getting the shot is right for you and your family.

Vaccine data from the California Department of Public Health’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) now show that 54.6% of county residents age 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 879,552 total residents now partially or fully vaccinated. The data reflects strong progress towards the County’s goal of vaccinating at least 85% of residents age 16 or older by August 1, 2021.

Vaccine Public Awareness Special on Saturday, April 17: Tonight at 7 p.m. is the “Roll Up Your Sleeves” COVID-19 vaccine awareness special, featuring President Joe Biden, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda. The hour-long special aims to encourage the American public to get their vaccine shots. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, will be interviewed by actor Matthew McConaughey.

State Vaccine Website to Help with Questions: The California Department of Public Health has created a simple website to remember, and pass along to those with questions about COVID-19 vaccines: www.vaccinateall58.com The site is succinct, organized, and answers some of the top questions about the vaccines while helping you locate vaccinations sites. Share with friends and family throughout California.

How Were the Vaccines Developed So Quickly?: Curious about how the scientific community was able to develop a vaccine with unprecedented speed? Understanding what aided the speed of COVID-19 vaccine creation might ease fears about them. For anyone wary of a vaccine this new, we discover the technology has been around for years. Either way, this is an essential read.

CDC Factsheets on the COVID-19 Vaccines: If you are looking for more information on each vaccine available, the CDC offers fact sheets in several languages.

More information about Fact Sheets.

Pausing of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine: California recently released an announcement about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine sharing that it is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further direction is provided from health and safety experts. receive further direction from health and safety experts. Go here for their announcement. Locally, Santa Clara County recently announced that it was pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and the FDA. The County has also advised its vaccinating partners to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending further direction from the CDC, FDA, and California Department of Public Health. The County anticipates being able to cover all scheduled appointments with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Safety Practices and Protocols Still Urged, Even If You Get the Vaccine

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is continuing to encourage residents to get tested for COVID-19 — including frontline workers who have already been vaccinated — to help control and understand any ongoing community spread and presence of COVID-19 variants. According to county health officials, continued community testing allows for identification and breaking chains of transmission and reducing spread, which gives the virus fewer opportunities to replicate and mutate. A lack of robust community testing reduces public health officials’ view of where the COVID-19 is circulating and to what level it is spreading in the community. Go here to find free testing in Palo Alto and throughout the County.

Wearing face coverings are still part of the necessary actions to keep progressing towards recovery from the pandemic. This applies to everyone, including those who are already vaccinated. Santa Clara County face-covering guidance follows the State’s guidance. While CDC guidance for vaccinated people has allowed some new activities, wearing face coverings around unvaccinated people is still necessary. Go here for more information and always follow state guidelines for face covering and other safety practices. In addition to continued safe practices such as wearing a face covering, avoiding gathering with those outside your household, continued testing, and getting vaccinated when eligible, county public health officials are also cautioning against non-essential travel and advise quarantining if traveling.

Continued Focus on Community Wellness & Wellbeing

There are many ways to support our community’s recovery and growth as we safely and carefully manage through the COVID-19 pandemic. While we’re not completely out of the woods yet, we’re laying the groundwork for our community to collectively move toward normalcy. Your wellness and community engagement are key as we continue to recover together as a community. The following resources were developed with your wellbeing in mind.

Be Well and Stay Safe: The City’s Be Well and Stay Safe page has more information on wellness resources including past and upcoming events in our Wellness Wednesday series. Last month, Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen led an Introduction to Mindfulness for Adults session that you can watch here. Earthquakes can and will happen throughout California. April is Earthquake Preparedness Month and is a time to build awareness about community resources and ways the community can come together to prepare for disasters. Preparing for emergencies before they occur reduces stress and anxiety, and helps support community wellness and wellbeing. Join us and sign up now for this month’s Wellness Wednesday event on April 21, which will cover earthquake preparedness. Hosted by our Office of Emergency Services, this webinar will cover what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

Uplift Local Effort Continues to Connect the Community Together: We are also continuing to connect the community to outdoor dining and retail opportunities through the City’s Uplift Local effort, including local discounts, ongoing events. Don’t miss our next Uplift Local community check-in meeting on April 20.

Celebrate Together During this Year’s May Fete Parade: This year, Palo Alto’s May Fete celebration will be a week-long celebration. The theme will be “What a Wonderful World.” While 2021 won’t see the same kind of gathering as in past years, this year’s celebration will feature a “reverse parade,” where displays are stationary and spectators drive around Palo Alto to view them. Show off your creativity this year by entering your display! Displays will be judged during the week of May 1-May 8. Go here for more information. Community members can also show off their pets this year by submitting to the virtual Pets on Display here.

For more wellness and wellbeing resources, go here.

More Online Resources

To Sign up for the City’s Coronavirus Report, a weekly summary of Coronavirus updates, city news, community wellness and family resources, go here.

Go here for all updates on statewide COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.

Go here for the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine information page, which includes information on statewide vaccination guidance and policies.

For the State’s website and campaign Vaccinate All 58, answering vaccine questions, go here: www.vaccinateall58.com

For the City’s Coronavirus website, go to: www.cityofpaloalto.org/coronavirus

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