Get vaccinated – it’s safe, effective, and free. Vaccination is the most important tool to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this page:

 

How to get vaccinated:

My Turn

Check myturn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255 to book an appointment or find a walk-in site near you. Third doses are available for the immune-compromised.

Vaccines.gov

Use the CDC’s Vaccines.gov to book an appointment or find a walk-in site near you.

You can also check with your healthcare provider or local pharmacy.


Who can get vaccinated

Any Californian aged 12 and up can get vaccinated, for free. 

Your insurance or immigration status does not matter. No one will ask about your immigration status when you get vaccinated.

Vaccinations for kids

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by the FDA for kids aged 12 and up. It was found to be safe and effective in protecting children as young as 12 in clinical trials.


How COVID-19 vaccines work

Illustration of a women getting a bandage on her arm after vaccination

Vaccines are highly effective against severe COVID-19. No fully-vaccinated person died due to COVID-19 during clinical trials of the three authorized vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against the virus. That means it is possible you could still get COVID-19 just after vaccination. 

What we know

  • Vaccinations can prevent nearly all COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths. Post-vaccination cases are extremely rare.
  • Vaccinations reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective against variants of the virus currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.
  • People with weakened immune systems, including those who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.

What we’re still learning

  • How long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts.

Once you’re vaccinated

When you’re fully vaccinated, you can return to activities you did before the pandemic. But stay aware of public health recommendations that still apply to you.


Side effects

After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some mild side effects. These are normal signs that your body is building immunity. More serious side effects rarely happen.

Mild side effects

Common mild side effects include: 

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where you got the shot
  • Feeling tired, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea

Side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.

Rare but serious side effects

Blood clots

Rarely, women under 50 who get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have a risk of blood clots with low platelets. This risk is not seen in other COVID-19 vaccines. Read CDPH’s Fact Sheet: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Benefits and Risks.

Myocarditis and pericarditis

Some young people have developed inflammation of heart muscle or membrane after getting a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Despite this, the CDC believes that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risks. Read more in these CDPH fact sheets:

Reporting side effects of vaccines

If you have experienced a side effect after COVID-19 vaccination, you can report it to:

  • VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System)
  • V-safe (After Vaccination Health Checker)

When to call the doctor

In most cases, discomfort from pain or fever is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • The redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours
  • Your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you have a severe reaction, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.


Booster shots and additional doses

Booster shots are not yet available.

But additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines are now available for those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. 

This includes people who:

  • Get active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Got an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Got a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Get active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress immune response

Talk to your doctor to see if getting an additional dose is right for you. If you meet these criteria, you can book your third dose at My Turn.

See questions and answers about additional doses.


Digital vaccine record 

You can now get a digital copy of your vaccination record. This is called the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record (DCVR). It’s available to you if:

  • You got vaccinated in California, and 
  • Your information matches what is recorded in the state’s immunization systems.

 To get your vaccine record:

This digital copy can be used as proof of vaccination. 

See Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about your digital vaccine record.

If you have trouble getting your record

If you couldn’t get your vaccine record, you may need to correct or add some information. Follow the troubleshooting tips at cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord.

What might prevent you from getting your COVID-19 vaccination record:

  • Your vaccination site does not report to the state’s immunization systems
  • Your vaccination site didn’t report your vaccination
  • The information you entered doesn’t match your record in the registry

To correct or update your vaccine record, start an online chat with My Turn’s Virtual Assistant.

Read CDPH’s Vaccine Record Guidelines & Standards for more information.


Vaccine rumors  

California is making sure that the public has accurate information on COVID-19 vaccination.  

If you hear vaccine-related rumors online or in your community, share with us at rumors@cdph.ca.gov.

CDPH reviews all emails to this address to better understand vaccine information gaps. They may contact you for more details.


Spread vaccine awareness

Urge your friends and family to get vaccinated. Find the words at Vaccinate ALL 58, our state’s awareness campaign website.

Share on social media that vaccination against COVID-19 is safe, available, and free. Visit the COVID-19 Response Toolkit page to find images and videos you can post.

Map of California with text Vaccinate ALL 58 - Together we can end the pandemic.

Questions and answers

Getting vaccinated

What to expect after vaccination

Vaccination for children

Vaccinations for employees

Vaccine limitations

Vaccine choices


Stay informed