Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19
and COVID-19 Vaccines

We understand you may have many questions about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. Valley Children’s has developed this list of frequently asked questions as a resource to keep you informed and help answer questions you may have about this quickly evolving topic.

Valley Children’s Hospital is currently a vaccination site through MyTurn. Appointments are required and can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov. Only currently scheduled clinics will be listed.

 

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have proven safe after millions of doses given in the U.S. and worldwide. Administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was briefly paused while rare cases of a severe type of blood clot following administration of the vaccine were investigated. During the pause, the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of blood clots associated with the vaccine. They also provided extensive outreach to clinicians to ensure they were aware of the potential for this adverse event. Following this assessment and outreach, the FDA and CDC have determined that use of the vaccine should be resumed as the known and potential benefits outweigh known and potential risk. The available data suggests that the chance of these rare blood clots is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate the risk.

Common side effects are temporary and can include: fever, chills, tiredness, headache and pain or swelling in the arm you got the vaccine.

Pfizer Vaccine

  • Uses mRNA technology
  • Two doses, 3-6 weeks apart
  • FDA authorized for persons 12 and older

Moderna Vaccine

  • Uses mRNA technology
  • Two doses, 4-6 weeks apart
  • FDA authorized for persons 18 and older

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (also called Janssen Vaccine)

  • Ad26 (adenovirus vector, replication incompetent) vaccine
  • One dose
  • FDA authorized for persons 18 and older

All three vaccines are safe, effective and have been proven to prevent severe illness that would require hospitalization, including intensive care and death.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use mRNA technology. You might think about mRNA vaccines as being like an email that sends instructions to your body about how to fight off an infection. When you get an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, your body reads the instructions about what to do if it encounters the virus that causes COVID-19. Once your body learns these instructions, it deletes the email.

It is important to understand that mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with the DNA in our bodies in any way because mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.
 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus (or viral) vector vaccine. The viral vector vaccine carries a gene from the coronavirus into human cells, which then produces the coronavirus spike protein, but not the coronavirus itself. This spike protein is what causes the immune system to fight off the infection. The adenoviral vector cannot replicate, so you cannot get an infection from this vaccine.
 

  • People who have a known history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine
  • The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not available to persons under 18 years of age
  • The Pfizer vaccine is not available to children under age 12
  • People who have had another vaccine within 14 days (within 28 days of live viral vaccine for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine)
  • People who have fever on the day of the vaccine
  • People who are on quarantine or isolation for COVID exposure or disease
  • People who have been treated with convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 within the last 90 days

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two vaccines for people 18 and older and one vaccine for people 12 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone eligible to receive the vaccine get it, especially adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at an increased risk for severe illness form the virus that causes COVID-19.

People can receive the COVID-19 vaccines if they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. More information about COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions is available on the CDC’s website. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your health history and the vaccine.
 

No. You will not get COVID-19 from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine because there is no live virus in the COVID-19 vaccines.
 

As long as you have recovered from your acute COVID-19 illness and are no longer contagious, you are encouraged to get the vaccine because of the risk of reinfection. We do not know how long antibodies last after infection. You may choose to wait up to 90 days after your infection before receiving a vaccine, as natural protection from infection is thought to last at least that long.
 

The CDC recommends 14 days between receiving a COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of their received order.
 

Pregnancy:
Currently, there is limited data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines administered during pregnancy. Early COVID-19 vaccine studies did not include pregnant women. Still, some participants were either pregnant and did not know it or became pregnant during the course of the study. In this small group, there were no safety concerns found, and the vaccine was effective. Since the vaccine has become available, 30,000 pregnant women in the United States have received the vaccine with no safety signals found.

The adenovirus platform used by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been used previously in pregnant women and was found to be safe.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women who are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding should not be excluded from receiving the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines if they choose to do so. We encourage women to partner with their healthcare provider to make a shared decision after being provided with information about the potential risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.

It is important to note that some pregnant women may be at higher risk for COVID-19 and pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing complications, compared to non-pregnant women, when ill with COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, visit the CDC’s website.


Breastfeeding:
Women do not need to delay breastfeeding for any amount of time after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. We do suggest that all women who are breastfeeding practice proper hand hygiene.

The baby may also benefit from antibodies passed through breast milk after the mother is vaccinated.


People who are trying to conceive:
People who are trying to conceive can get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), American College of Obstetricians (ACOG) and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), there is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to loss of fertility in women or men.
 

Everyone is recommended to still follow safety measures after getting the COVID-19 vaccine because it will still take some time to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to get our communities vaccinated.

While the COVID-19 vaccines appear to be highly effective at preventing infection, it is not yet known if they are effective in preventing asymptomatic infections (someone who has COVID-19 with no symptoms) who can then pass to another person.

For this reason, we need to work together to slow and stop the spread of the virus. We encourage everyone to stay home if they are not feeling well, practice proper hand hygiene and receive the vaccine as soon as they qualify.

If you scheduled one or more of your doses through the State of California’s MyTurn system, you can obtain your vaccine information and/or a new card from the California Immunization Registry (CAIR), by clicking here or by calling 1-800-578-7889.

If you received one or more doses at Valley Children’s Hospital, your vaccine information – including the date of vaccine and lot number – are available through MyChart. If you need a replacement vaccine card, please call Valley Children’s Health Information Management office at 559-353-5404. You will need to show identification when picking up the card.

In order to keep patients, families and healthcare providers as safe as possible from the spread of respiratory viruses – including COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) – additional screening precautions, visitor restrictions and program changes are in effect at all Valley Children’s Healthcare locations.

Effective July 21, 2021, Valley Children’s Hospital will allow two parents/caregivers per patient (including COVID+ patients) during their inpatient hospital stay. Other visitors and non-essential vendors will not be allowed to enter. Two parents/caregivers will also be allowed for patients having surgery and can stay with the patient until they are ready to be taken back to prepare for surgery and then again when patient is in recovery and preparing to be discharged. 

This change is prompted by our commitment to patient and family-centered care and implemented with confidence that we can continue our emphasis on the safety of our patients, families and each other. Safety measures in place include improved air handling/ventilation, staff and visitor screening, continued staff vaccinations and adequate PPE supplies.

Only one parent/caregiver may accompany a child to appointments in our specialty or primary care practices - or for laboratory/imaging visits. Please be advised, this may require securing arrangements for siblings or other visitors. This limit is necessary due to the need for social distancing and the limited waiting space.

Patients and visitors are screened at all entrances with questions regarding health and a temperature check. Valley Children’s also requires all visitors to wear a mask in every location, with the only exception being inpatient units of the Madera Hospital campus when a visitor is in their child’s room, and no hospital staff are present. Visitors entering one of Valley Children’s facilities are welcome to wear their own masks. If they do not have a personal mask, a disposable mask will be provided.

Additionally, Valley Children’s Emergency Department has modified its operations. At this time, visitors in the Emergency Department waiting area will be limited to one parent/guardian or direct caregiver of patients. If a patient is placed in the Emergency Department treatment area or in a room, a second parent/guardian or direct caregiver is allowed. Other visitors and non-essential vendors will not be allowed to enter. This limit is necessary due to the need for social distancing and the limited space.

 

Valley Children's Healthcare offers an online COVID-19 Symptom Checker as a resource to help guide you, based on you or your child’s current symptoms and help determine the most appropriate level of medical care. This symptom checker can be found at valleychildrens.org/COVID19symptoms.

If your child is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit the closest emergency department. If an emergency room visit is appropriate, please let staff know about your possible exposure and/or symptoms immediately on arrival.

Valley Children’s Hospital is currently conducting COVID-19 PCR testing. Please note, testing capacity is limited and will only be provided when deemed medically necessary based on current CDC and CDPH guidance. Learn more about testing here.
 

You can find the most up-to-date information COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov. You can also view updates from the California Department of Public Health on their COVID-19 page here.

Valley Children’s has set up a COVID-19 hotline, available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help answer any questions you may have. The number is 559-353-3333 or 888-286-9336.

Valley Children’s Hospital has adopted California SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Crisis Care Guidelines to manage surge operation and crisis care including allocation process for ICU admission/ventilation. The shift to delivering crisis care happens at the extreme. During normal times, customary routine services are provided through standard operating procedures. As resources become constrained, from facilities to supplies to staffing, systems shift from conventional care into contingency care. Crisis care falls at the far end of the spectrum, when resources are scarce and the focus shifts from providing the best care for the individual patient to delivering the best care for the patient population.