Last update: 2021-04-09
The County of San Diego is currently vaccinating individuals in all tiers of Phases 1A, 1B and 1C, and anyone 50 years and older. No additional documentation regarding your health conditions will be required at your vaccination appointment. You do not need to contact your doctor before your appointment unless you have a specific medical question.
Read frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines.
Getting the vaccine.
- Who is Sharp currently vaccinating?
- When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Why is Sharp encouraging patients to go to a county site instead of doing more patient vaccinations?
- Can I join a waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine?
- How is Sharp notifying patients?
- How is Sharp involved with the County of San Diego vaccination sites?
- What is being done to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine?
- Which COVID-19 vaccines is Sharp offering?
- How much will the vaccine cost?
- How do I schedule my second dose?
- I got my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine somewhere other than Sharp. Can I get my second dose from Sharp?
- What should I do if I don't get my second dose by the end of 6 weeks?
Who should get the vaccine.
- Why should I get the vaccine?
- Should I get the vaccine if I've had COVID-19?
- Do I still need the vaccine if I had a positive antibody test?
- Can I get the shot if I'm sick?
- Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Should I get the vaccine if I am immunosuppressed?
- Can children be vaccinated?
- Is the vaccine safe?
- Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
- Will getting the vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19?
- What's in the vaccine?
- What is the difference among the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
- Are there side effects?
- What should I do if I have a reaction to the vaccine?
How the vaccine works.
- How do the first COVID-19 vaccines work?
- Is the vaccine effective?
- How were the vaccines developed so fast?
- What is the difference between an EUA and full FDA approval for a vaccine?
Other vaccine-related questions.
- I heard Sharp is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to volunteers. What do I need to do to qualify?
- Once I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask or comply with other precautions?
- How will the COVID-19 vaccination record be added to my medical record?
- I am fully vaccinated for COVID-19. What am I able to do now?
- I need to get a TB test. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine before or after?
- What can I do while I wait for my vaccine?
- How long will immunity last after I am vaccinated?
- When will things get "back to normal"?
Who is Sharp currently vaccinating?
Sharp is staffing five vaccination sites for the County of San Diego. Appointments are required. These sites use the county's online scheduling system. Make your vaccination appointment. Walk-ins are not being accepted. Please keep our phone lines free for other medical needs.
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The County of San Diego is currently vaccinating individuals in all tiers of Phases 1A, 1B and 1C. No additional documentation regarding your health conditions will be required at your vaccination appointment. You do not need to contact your doctor before your appointment unless you have a specific medical question. We recommend making an appointment at a County of San Diego vaccination station.
Why is Sharp encouraging patients to go to a county site instead of doing more patient vaccinations?
Sharp is partnering with the County of San Diego and other local health care providers to vaccinate our community and end the pandemic as quickly as possible. The fastest way to distribute vaccine is to partner with the county on large super sites.
The best way to schedule your vaccination is to visit MyTurn. We recommend that you select the Sharp-operated sites located at Chula Vista Center in the South Bay, Coronado Community Center, Grossmont Center in East County, Sharp Knollwood in central San Diego and California State University, San Marcos, in North County. You'll be sure to receive The Sharp Experience you expect at any of these locations.
Can I join a waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine?
While we are unable to manage a waitlist, it is critically important for you to get the vaccine when it is your turn in order to help bring an end to the pandemic.
We are distributing the vaccine we receive to designated tiers as quickly and safely as possible. You can help by reserving our phone lines for medical needs and watching for information from your health care providers, who will let you know when the vaccine is available to you.
How is Sharp notifying patients?
Watch for an email, text or phone call from your health care provider, who will let you know when vaccine is available.
How is Sharp involved with the County of San Diego vaccination sites?
Sharp is proud to serve the community through the county vaccination sites at the Chula Vista Center in the South Bay, Grossmont Center in East County, Coronado Community Center, Sharp Knollwood in central San Diego and California State University, San Marcos, in North County. Please know that the county provides the COVID-19 vaccine to all of its community clinics, including the ones that Sharp operates.
What is being done to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine?
Equity considerations are being incorporated into each distribution phase. For example, it is especially important for underserved populations that health care workers be vaccinated early. Should health care delivery be impacted by widespread disease, these populations will be disproportionately affected.
Which COVID-19 vaccines is Sharp offering?
Sharp is providing Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines through the County of San Diego vaccination sites we are staffing. Available type depends on supply, and we ask that you take the vaccine that is being offered at the appointment you schedule. All three vaccines have been shown to be highly effective against death and hospitalization due to COVID-19.
How much will the vaccine cost?
The federal government has paid for the cost of the vaccine doses. While your insurance may be billed for certain costs to give the shot to you, you should not have out-of-pocket costs associated with getting the vaccine.
How do I schedule my second dose?
If you received your first dose at a County of San Diego vaccination clinic, we will contact you by email six days prior to your return date with a link to schedule your appointment. If you did not receive your email, please check your spam folder or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your return date depends on which vaccine type you received. An appointment is required to receive your second dose.
If you received your first dose in your doctor's office, please follow the instructions from your provider.
I got my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine somewhere other than Sharp. Can I get my second dose from Sharp?
Since each vaccination site receives an allocation of second doses based on the number of first doses it administered, we ask that you return to your original vaccination site for your second dose. If you received your first dose outside of San Diego, please schedule an appointment at a County of San Diego vaccination clinic.
What should I do if I don't get my second dose by the end of 6 weeks?
Please rest assured that even if you receive the second dose later than planned, the CDC has determined that the vaccines can be administered safely up to 6 weeks, or 42 days, after the first dose and still provide protection from the COVID-19 virus. If you are unable to receive your second dose within 42 days, you should get it as soon as you can. You do not need to start the vaccination process over if you are unable to get your second dose within 42 days.
Why should I get the vaccine?
Experts believe that at least 70% of people need immunity to the virus before the pandemic will end.
The COVID-19 vaccine will prevent disease and death, and help people get back to work and school. It will also prevent the lasting effects of the disease, including long-term fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, chest pain, difficulty thinking and concentrating ("brain fog"), depression, muscle pain, headache and fever. People recovering from COVID-19 have also reported problems with their heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, teeth and nervous system.
Should I get the vaccine if I've had COVID-19?
Yes. Since repeat infection is possible, people who have tested positive for COVID-19 should get vaccinated. Once you have recovered and are no longer contagious to others (which is a minimum of 10 days after infection), you can be vaccinated. If you received monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days since these treatments may interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Do I still need the vaccine if I had a positive antibody test?
Yes. A positive antibody test indicates that you have already been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Since repeat infection is possible, people who have received a positive antibody test should get vaccinated.
Can I get the shot if I'm sick?
You should not get the shot if you are currently sick with COVID-19 or any other illness, or if you have had symptoms in the past 14 days. Wait until you are well.
Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine both state you may be vaccinated, but please contact your provider if you have questions.
Can I get the vaccine if I am immunosuppressed?
If you are immunosuppressed or currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, speak with your provider to determine whether you should receive the vaccine at this time.
Can children be vaccinated?
Pfizer's vaccine is authorized for people over the age of 16, and Moderna's is authorized for people over 18. However, most children are excluded from vaccine eligibility based on current San Diego County guidelines. Both Pfizer and Moderna have clinical trials underway to study the vaccine for children over age 12. It is unknown when results from those trials are expected.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. Typical vaccine trials include 21,750 participants on average. COVID-19 vaccine trials have included 30,000 to 60,000 participants. These clinical trials have shown both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines to be safe with no serious side effects.
The COVID-19 vaccines are not the first mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines have been developed for flu, rabies, CMV (cytomegalovirus) and Zika viruses.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain any virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from these vaccines.
Will getting the vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19?
The vaccine will not cause you to test positive on viral tests for COVID-19, such as PCR tests or antigen tests. If you receive a positive viral test for COVID-19 after receiving the shot, follow your health care provider's guidance for isolating and additional testing.
It is likely the vaccine will cause you to test positive for COVID-19 antibody tests (also called serology tests) because the vaccine helps build the antibodies these tests detect.
What's in the vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine does not contain preservatives. In addition to the vaccine, inactive ingredients include: lipid ALC-0159, lipid ALC-0315, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride (table salt), sodium phosphate and sucrose (sugar). The lipid molecules protect and transport the vaccine. Other ingredients are stabilizers.
The Moderna vaccine does not contain preservatives. Inactive ingredients in the Moderna vaccine include lipids (SM-102; 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycero3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000 [PEG2000-DMG]; cholesterol; and 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), as well as stabilizers tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.
The inactive ingredients in these vaccines are commonly found in a variety of vaccines and treatments.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives or latex. It includes the following ingredients: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-?-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.
You should not get the vaccine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
Download these PDFs to learn more about the vaccine, its ingredients and side effects:
- Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers - Pfizer Vaccine
- Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers - Moderna Vaccine
- Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers - Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
What is the difference among the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. They both use lipid molecules to move the vaccine into the cell, but each company uses different lipids. In part due to the lipid ingredient choice, Pfizer vaccine requires a colder temperature for storage. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It uses a modified version of a different, harmless virus to deliver instructions to cells to create antibodies. Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose.
Are there side effects?
Most people getting the shot will experience side effects. Clinical trial participants reported mild or moderate side effects including fever, soreness at the injection site, body aches, and headaches. Symptoms like these are common when getting any vaccine. They indicate the body's immune system is preparing to work against the virus if needed. Trial participants reported the symptoms were generally more significant after the second shot but went away quickly. You may want to plan for a day or two of rest after getting your shots, if possible.
What should I do if I have a reaction to the vaccine?
Side effects may include injection site pain similar to a tetanus shot. Some recipients have reported one or two days of fatigue, muscle pain and flu-like symptoms. Most people can manage side effects with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you cannot manage the side effects with these medications, or you want to speak with a health care provider, we suggest that you contact your primary care physician. You can also schedule a virtual urgent care visit.
How do the first COVID-19 vaccines work?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work using messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA. The vaccines use this genetic material to make a small piece of the "spike protein" which the coronavirus uses to attach to cells. That primes the immune system to recognize the spike protein when it sees it again, so it can spring into action quickly and defend against the virus.
The mRNA does not stay in your body. It is temporary and does not mix into your genetic code.
Is the vaccine effective?
Yes. Clinical trials of these two vaccines have shown them to be highly effective at preventing serious disease from COVID-19. Pfizer's vaccine was shown to be 95% effective and Moderna's vaccine was shown to be 94.5% effective.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, three or four weeks apart. Full effectiveness occurs about a week after the second dose.
How were the vaccines developed so fast?
Normally, vaccines go through a series of development phases one at a time due to the costs involved.
The government provided funding for COVID-19 vaccine development. This removed financial risk for vaccine companies, so they were able to develop, study and manufacture vaccines all at once rather than waiting for results before moving to the next step.
Steps were not skipped during the development of these vaccines, and they have undergone the same rigorous reviews for safety and effectiveness that every vaccine must pass.
What is the difference between an EUA and full FDA approval for a vaccine?
A vaccine developer can apply for EUA status with 2 months of safety data. Full approval requires 6 months of safety data. The FDA is encouraging companies that receive an EUA to apply for full approval as soon as possible.
I heard Sharp is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to volunteers. What do I need to do to qualify?
Sharp is seeking volunteers to help at several County of San Diego vaccination clinics. These include Chula Vista Center in the South Bay, Grossmont Center in East County, Sharp Knollwood in central San Diego and California State University, San Marcos, in North County. Volunteers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after completing certain steps, including a minimum number of shifts. Learn more about upcoming opportunities.
Once I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask or comply with other precautions?
Yes, you need to continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands. It is possible that you may spread COVID-19 even after being vaccinated.
How will the COVID-19 vaccination record be added to my medical record?
If you were vaccinated in a Sharp Rees-Stealy clinic, your medical record was updated at the time of your vaccination. Sharp is working with the San Diego Immunization Registry (SDIR) to import Sharp patient's vaccination records from the county vaccination sites.
I am fully vaccinated for COVID-19. What am I able to do now?
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
However, you should still wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people. Read more about the CDC guidelines.
I need to get a TB test. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine before or after?
Per CDC guidelines, you should wait at least four weeks after your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to get a TB test. This ensures accurate testing.
What can I do while I wait for my vaccine?
Learn about the vaccines as they become available, and share information from trusted sources including the CDC and San Diego County health officials with others who may have questions or concerns. It is critically important that everyone get the vaccine when it is available in order to help bring the pandemic to an end.
Continue to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth, keep your distance from those outside your household, and wash your hands frequently. Maintain your overall wellness with a healthy diet and exercise, and manage any chronic conditions you may have. Sharp offers virtual visits if you have a health concern that is not life-threatening. Visit sharp.com/getcare for more information. And of course, never put off care if you have symptoms that could indicate something serious.
Be sure to watch for updates from your health care providers as they will inform you about when the vaccine is available. Visit sharp.com/coronavirus for continued updates.
How long will immunity last after I am vaccinated?
We don't know yet. A recent study found very good continued protection with the Pfizer vaccine after 120 days. Studies to measure the length of immunity are ongoing for all vaccines approved for emergency use.
When will things get "back to normal"?
The process of manufacturing and distributing the vaccines will take many months.
It is also important to know that while the vaccine has been shown effective in preventing illness, it is unclear whether people who receive the vaccine can still transmit the virus to others. It is very important to continue the safety measures we have all come to know: watch your distance, wear a face covering and wash your hands.
Tips for scheduling a vaccine appointment at a county vaccination site.
- Be sure you are in an eligible tier before scheduling your appointment.
- Use Chrome for the best browser experience.
- Use a laptop or desktop computer, not a mobile device.
- Start with the larger "super station" sites. They tend to have more availability.
- Check back often. New appointments are added frequently, many later in the day.
- Certain browser settings may make it difficult to view all appointment options. Look for the "Save and Continue" button at the bottom right of the appointment page. If you can't see the "Save and Continue" button, zoom out in your browser (make the text smaller).