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 recommended but not required and can be made at Only currently scheduled clinics will be listed.


Yes, all three vaccines are safe and effective. The only contraindication to the vaccine is known serious allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine. There is an increased incidence after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine of thrombosis, thrombocytopenia and Guillain-Barré syndrome as rare potential adverse events. Pfizer and Moderna have a risk of a rare adverse event, heart inflammation or myocarditis, occurring after the second dose of the vaccine.  

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
  • FDA authorized for persons 12-15
  • FDA approved for persons 16 and older

Moderna Vaccine

  • Uses mRNA technology
  • Two doses
  • 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. The vaccines are less effective in immunocompromised persons and the FDA has extended authorization and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended a third dose of the mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose for those with moderate or severe immunocompromise.

Who is considered moderately or severely immunocompromised?

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.

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 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 should get the vaccine because of the risk of reinfection and enhanced protection from the illness plus the vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy. There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, visit

Everyone is recommended to still follow safety measures after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Mild breakthrough disease and asymptomatic infection can occur in vaccinated persons and if this happens, the person can spread the infection to others.

You can obtain your record and a QR code (SMART Health Card) at

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.

Valley Children’s is committed to keeping our patients, families and healthcare providers as safe as possible from the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). In order to keep our patients, families and healthcare providers as safe as possible from the spread of respiratory viruses, additional screening precautions and visitor restrictions are in place.

These changes are 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. 

Valley Children's Hospital

Valley Children’s Hospital allows two parents/caregivers per patient (including COVID+ patients) during their inpatient hospital stay. Other visitors and non-essential vendors are not 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. Only one parent/guardian may accompany a patient entering the hospital for outpatient, laboratory or imaging appointments. Please be advised, this may require securing arrangements for siblings or other visitors.

Parents/guardians of admitted patients are not required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID 19 test. If they would like to receive the vaccine or a test, we will arrange that in their child’s room.

Valley Children's Specialty Care Centers and Primary Care Practices

Only one parent/caregiver may accompany a child to appointments in our specialty or primary care practices. Please be advised, this may require securing arrangements for siblings or other visitors.

Emergency Department

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. 

Screenings and Mask Policy

Patients and parents/guardians are screened at all entrances – in all Valley Children’s facilities - with questions regarding health and a temperature check. Valley Children’s also requires all visitors to wear a mask in every location, at all times. (The only exception is inpatient units of the Madera Hospital campus when a parent/guardian is in their child’s room. Adults must put masks back on every time a Valley Children’s team member is present.) In addition, everyone entering Valley Children’s Hospital must wear the surgical masks provided at screening.

Vendor Guidelines

All vendors entering Valley Children’s Hospital are required to be fully vaccinated and must be prepared to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to security upon entry. No exemptions are accepted.  

Additionally, vaccines are mandatory for all Valley Children’s employees and staff. For those with an approved medical or religious exemption, twice weekly COVID testing is required.


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

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.


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


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.