Older Adult and Disability FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccine

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  • What is the difference between an “additional dose” and a “booster” dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
    • An “additional dose” of a COVID-19 vaccine is administered to individuals with weakened immune systems who have not responded fully to initial doses.
    • A “booster” dose is administered when the response to initial vaccination might have decreased to levels that increase vulnerability.
    • You can view questions and answers on “Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Doses for People Whose Immune Systems are Compromised” by visiting https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/ThirdVaccineDoseQandA.aspx.
  • Do I need an "additional" dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
    • If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised, you are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because you are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness. People who have compromised immune systems may benefit from an additional dose/3rd dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.
    • The CDC provides a list of conditions for people who should receive the additional dose as those who have:
      • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
      • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
      • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
      • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
      • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
      • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
    • People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
    • For more information visit the County’s webpage, Information on Additional Doses.
  • When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?
    • The CDC recommends the following groups of people who are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should receive a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 6 months after your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s series, based on the criteria below:
      • People 65 years and older
      • Residents in long-term care facilities
      • People aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities (including communities of color and others at risk)
    • In addition, the following groups of people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and are fully vaccinated may receive a booster dose:
      • People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions
      • People aged 18-64 years who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional settings
      • Includes healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers, and workers in homeless shelters or prisons
    • A booster dose is recommended by the CDC for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine six months after the second dose. Since one’s immunity may wane over time, a booster dose is needed to maintain protection against COVID-19 for longer.
    • A booster dose is not to be confused with those who qualify for an additional dose, recommended for moderately to severely immunocompromised people who may not build enough protection after the first two doses. When you go to receive your booster dose, please bring your vaccination card.
    • Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for booster shots. Those who received either Moderna or the J&J Janssen vaccines are not currently eligible to get a booster at this time.
    • If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health provider to discuss if receiving a booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech is right for you.
    • More information regarding boosters for the general population will be available soon.
  • What are common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine?


  • What is the Delta Variant and what should I know about it?
    • The County has created a one-page handout on what you need to know about the COVID-19 Delta Variant. This document covers key concerns such as this variant being more easily spread, more severe and contagious, and that symptoms are different. Also, it is important to note that the vaccines are extremely effective in lowering the chance of hospitalizations due to this variant.
    • To view the document, click the appropriate language below:
  • Who is eligible for the vaccine?

    Currently, everyone 5 years and older can get a vaccine at no cost. You do not need an appointment, but it is available if preferred. Individuals younger than 18 may only receive the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, visit the County of San Diego's COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

  • Do I need an appointment to get my COVID-19 vaccine?

    You can make an appointment, go to one of the drop-in sites, other organizations, including pharmacies and health care centers in San Diego County.

    • As of April 27th, County-hosted COVID-19 vaccine sites are open for walk-up and you can get vaccinated with no appointment required.
      • To view a list of drop-in vaccination locations by day, click here.
    • For other organizations (ex. pharmacies, health care centers) in San Diego County offering COVID-19 vaccinations, click here.
  • How do I schedule an appointment to receive my COVID-19 vaccine?

    If you would like to make an appointment…

    • You can check with your healthcare provider, or…
    • 2-1-1 San Diego is assisting all San Diegans of all ages who need assistance with scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
      • Vaccine assistance is available if:
        • You do not have access to a computer
        • You need someone to assist you with scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment'
        • You need special accommodations at a vaccine clinic
        • You (or a loved one) are homebound, and need assistance getting a vaccination
    • The County has an interactive COVID-19 vaccination appointment map showing all County partner vaccination sites. This map allows users to pick a location based on their address, city, or ZIP code, and directly connects them to the appointment system for that specific site.
    • View a list of drop-in vaccination locations by day and make an appointment
  • I am concerned about getting my vaccine. How do I know it is safe?
    • There are many reasons to get vaccinated and learning about the vaccine can help ease fears.
      • The County has developed a one-page document on how to address things like Vaccine Hesitancy and Common Misconceptions here.
      • To find answers on some commonly asked questions, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency created a one-page document on COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions.
      • You can also view a quick video on COVID-19 vaccinations addressed by the County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, by clicking on the appropriate language:
  • Which COVID-19 vaccine is more effective, and which one should I get?
    • As of August 23rd, 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. (previously this vaccine was authorized by the FDA for emergency use and it is for those 12-15).
    • Currently, two out of the three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized by the FDA for emergency use and are recommended to prevent COVID-19:
      • Moderna
      • Janssen (Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson)
    • All three vaccines were shown to be effective at decreasing the risk for COVID-related hospitalizations and death.
    • CDC has provided information on who is and is not recommended to receive each vaccine and what to expect after vaccination, as well as ingredients, safety, and effectiveness. Read more
  • What can people at higher risk do to stay safe?
    • If you are part of the high-risk population, it is important to take precautions to reduce your risk of getting infected, especially if you are NOTfully vaccinated.”
    • You are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as stated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) if it has been:
      • 2 weeks after second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine OR
      • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
    • If you do not fall into this category, continue to take all precautions until you are fully vaccinated such as:
      • Staying home. It is important that you limit your interactions with others as much as possible.
      • Avoiding contact with people who are sick. Isolating anyone sick in your home in a separate room, if possible.
      • Maintaining 6 feet of distance between yourself and those outside of your household, especially if you are venturing out into a public setting.
      • Covering your mouth and nose with a facial covering when around people who do not live in your household.
        • As of 3/4/21 California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines state that “double masking” is an effective way to improve fit and filtration to increase protection for others if you are infected, and protection for yourself if you are exposed to an infected person.
      •  Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
      • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.

Facial Coverings

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COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment

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