» Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer)
Frequently Asked Questions [Updated FAQs 3/5/21]
Do I have to get my vaccine at DOHC or are there other options?
Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties announced new COVID Vaccine dashboards on their websites that include the ability to register for upcoming vaccine clinics they are offering. The links can be found here:
What can I do now that I am fully vaccinated?
Based on newest CDC guidance released 3/8/21
Remember to be considered fully vaccinated you must have done one of these two things:
- Received BOTH doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and waited 2 weeks after to achieve full impact of the vaccine
- Received 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and waited 2 weeks after to achieve full impact of the vaccine
If you have been fully vaccinated you can consider doing the following:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
What Hasn’t Changed
For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:
You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
- In public
- Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household
- Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
- You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
- You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
- You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
- You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
Is DOHC giving COVID vaccines?
Yes, DOHC is providing 1st and 2nd doses of COVID vaccines (“shots in arms”) as soon as it receives its supply. To date, DOHC only offers the Pfizer vaccine and the volume of vaccine supply is set by Riverside County Health Department or its delegated vendors (Blue Shield). DOHC encourages patients to monitor other available community resources for vaccine clinic opportunities:
San Bernardino County:
Is DOHC scheduling appointments for the vaccine?
Yes, we’re scheduling eligible patients and community members aged 65+ as well as Tier 1b (visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/ for details of who is defined as an essential worker). DOHC will provide vaccines based on the limited supply and tiers determined by the State of CA and Riverside County. DOHC will ONLY have scheduled appointments based on how vaccines will be made available to the public. No walk-ups.
Please monitor the Riverside County website for new tiers. In the near future, those below age 65 with other disease states will be eligible (approximately March 15, 2021).
What vaccines does DOHC offer?
At this point, DOHC only provides the Pfizer vaccine.
DOHC has requested Moderna vaccine but to date has not received it.
The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine approved March 1, 2021 will likely be sent to rural or hard to reach sites that may not be able to refrigerate or transport the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Future request for DOHC supply of the J&J vaccine will depend on both availability and who the CDC and States determine should get this version of the vaccine with the goal of getting to hard-to-reach communities.
If I already got my vaccine, how do I let you know?
Congratulations on successfully getting your COVID Vaccines! Yes, we would like to get this information into your medical chart so your Provider knows you have been vaccinated and so we do not contact you unnecessarily for an appointment. Just visit the GOT VACCINE form on the MyDOHC.com website. Please give us your legal name, DOB and type of vaccine so that we can cross-check your information and enter it correctly into your vaccine record. Again – thanks for helping protect yourself and reducing the impact of the pandemic!
How do I go about getting my second dose of vaccine? If I got my first dose of vaccine somewhere else, can I get the second dose at a DOHC site?
From Riverside County website: For residents who received their first dose at one of our public health vaccine clinics, automatic emails will be sent when it is time to make an appointment for your second dose. You may make an appointment for a second dose at any location where you can secure a time, including at a doctor, pharmacy or urgent care clinic. The appointment does not have to be made precisely on the 21-day or 28-day mark. It can occur after, just not before.
Please note that if you received the Pfizer vaccine for your first dose, you must receive the Pfizer second dose. The same is true for the first Moderna vaccine. Check your vaccination card to see which vaccine you received. At the time of making your second appointment, inquire which vaccine is currently available. As we receive more vaccine, we anticipate that the appointment process will continue to streamline as we bring on more community vaccination partners and hold more vaccination clinics. If you have any questions as the time nears for a second dose, just let us know and we will be happy to find answers for you.
NOTE: At this time, DOHC has only received Pfizer vaccine.
Riverside County health officials will contact those who received first dose at county clinics for second dose appointment Participants must register and have an appointment to get vaccinated
NOTE: Riverside County is stating they may contact up to six weeks after the first dose for the second dose appointment.
For those who received a first dose at a county vaccine clinic (also called points of distribution or PODs), local health officials will reach out to residents through the contact method provided at the first appointment. At that time, the county will provide instructions for receiving the second dose conforming to the current CDC guideline on timeframes. Residents who received their first dose at private provider, should contact that same provider to schedule their second dose.
Current CDC guidelines allow up to 42 days for a second dose with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and due in part to limited vaccine supply from the state, it may not be possible to get a second dose at the 21 or 28 day mark originally recommended.
For more information, please visit www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine.
Should I call for a vaccine appointment?
No. DOHC will contact you when you are eligible for a scheduled vaccine appointment. Due to high demand, limited supply and exact requirements for the proper administration of the COVID vaccine we have to control the when and where the vaccine can be given as well as to eligible people. We are working diligently to expand supply, sites, and dates and times so that we can provide the vaccine to DOHC patients and other eligible community members.
How Many Doses Are Needed and Why?
For both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they require a second dose to attain the full level of immunity (94-95%). The newest approved emergency use vaccine, Johnson & Johnson requires only 1 dose. However, the J&J vaccine is likely only to be going to remote or rural settings where the refrigeration controls needed for Pfizer and Moderna cannot be managed.
Which Vaccines will DOHC be providing?
DOHC is an approved vaccine site for Riverside County and soon will be an approved San Bernardino County provider. DOHC currently only has received the Pfizer vaccine because it is equipped to store the vaccine meeting the high refrigeration requirements. The decision of which vaccine supply any provider receives is made at the County and State level. DOHC has applied for Moderna but not received approval of that stock. When available, DOHC will apply for the J& J vaccine if it intends to target hard to reach communities as directed by the County, State or their appointed vendors.
Once DOHC starts giving vaccines to members, will DOHC vaccinate their significant others or caregiver (non-DOHC)?
Yes, if they meet the County tiers for eligibility. We are required to follow County guidelines on eligibility – following age, risk and essential worker status. When all member(s) in a household is/are eligible we will attempt to immunize all members/caregivers in the household at one time. It does not matter if they are non-DOHC – we are committed to immunizing the community at large. However, all vaccinations must be scheduled for an appointment.
For members living in the high desert, will we be approving transport for them to come to Indio or PS for the vaccine?
DOHC has applied to open a San Bernardino site. We will be sending vaccine to the High Desert to immunize this population of patients when it is available. We are also working on plans for Home Health to take care of homebound members at risk. In the near future, DOHC will be scheduling MOBILE CLINIC opportunities in harder to reach areas to reduce the need for transportation to Indio or Palm Springs locations.
If I got the first dose of Moderna vaccine at an alternate site but do not have a follow up appointment for the second dose, can I get the second dose at DOHC?
DOHC only has the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Riverside County recommends that you return to the same site where you have your first vaccine for the second booster shot. Per the CDC and vaccine manufacturers, you must take the same brand of vaccine for the first and booster dose for maximum effectiveness. Research has not been completed on mixing brands and is not how the current vaccines were approved under emergency use authorization.
Additionally, current research only supports reaching optimal effectiveness of the vaccines when you get the 2 doses as recommended.
What if the location I received my first vaccine does not have the booster dose when recommended?
Riverside County is providing the second doses to all sites that administered the first dose. The County has advised DOHC that patients who received their initial dose at a county site should wait for an email or phone call to schedule for the second dose. The contact for the second appointment from the county can be up to 6 weeks later.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
Yes, the vaccine is safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. To date, millions of people have received the vaccines with only minor or moderate side effects.
Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19,as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
Will Getting vaccinated help prevent getting sick with COVID-19?
COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or they may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick.
But remember, vaccines are not a perfect 100% protection from the virus. You must continue to wear a mask, socially distance, and reduce unnecessary exposure – You are vaccinated – that does not mean the people you encounter outside your circle are vaccine free.
What should I do if I have a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?
The chances of you experiencing a severe reaction to the COVID-19 vaccination are extremely rare. However, if you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 911 and get to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you please call your health care provider or go to the nearest Desert Oasis Immediate Care.
Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received 2 doses of the vaccine?
Yes. It will be very important to continue to use all the tools available to us to stop the spread of COVID-19 such as covering your nose and mouth with a mask, washing hands often and social distancing of at least 6 feet from others. Continue to limit unnecessary travel. By using these tools as recommended by the CDC and receiving the COVID-19 vaccination together, we can offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Is it Better to Get Natural Immunity Rather than Immunity from Vaccines?
Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. However, experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Because some people with COVID-19 can have very mild symptoms, some may see natural infection as preferable to receiving a new vaccine. However, COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. Simply put, there is not enough known about natural immunity to take chances – we recommend getting the vaccine.
What are the Known Side Effects?
Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. Common side effects may include: your arm may be sore, red, or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection to disease.
However, it does take time and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine if the issue is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and determine the best course of action.
Will the COVID-19 vaccines give you COVID-19?
NO. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
Will COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests?
NO. Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody-testing results.
Should People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 get vaccinated?
YES. However, the CDC recommends waiting for 90 days after having COVID to get the vaccine.
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible; people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.
Best advice, if you have had COVID ask your health care provider when you should get the vaccine.
Will Receiving an mRNA vaccine alter your DNA?
No. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease.
If I live in San Bernardino County or another part of state or county can I still get the vaccine at DOHC?
YES. DOHC is approved by Riverside County Health Department as a community vaccine site. That said, DOHC is required to provide the vaccine following the guidelines provided by Riverside County. DOHC has also applied to become a San Bernardino vaccine provider.
Because DOHC is a health provider in a region that includes patients who live in not only in Riverside, San Bernardino and other counties or regions, patients of DOHC will be able to get their vaccine through DOHC but within the limits of who is currently eligible (following the approved tiers). Additionally, as permitted by Riverside County Health Department and vaccine supply allows, DOHC will provide the vaccine to other eligible community members. The ultimate goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
If I get the shot, can others in my household get the vaccine at the same time?
Depends. The CDC, State of California and Riverside County Health Department have established Tiers of eligibility to get the vaccine based on risk for getting COVID-19. DOHC is an approved Riverside County vaccine site and must follow the guidance established by these authorities. If at all possible, DOHC will attempt to make logical appointments for spouses, partners or households to get vaccinated when greater levels of the community become eligible to get the vaccine. Unfortunately, we cannot vaccinate people who are not yet eligible.
Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
The current vaccines are approved under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Pregnant and breastfeeding women were not included in the original testing of the vaccines. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend that you discuss getting the vaccine with your health provider before making that decision.
I am 65 years old or have multiple health conditions that put me at risk, can I get the vaccine now?
DOHC is approved by Riverside County to provide vaccines to patient 65+ and Tier 1B at this time.
The guidelines for who is currently eligible for the vaccine is determined by guidelines established by CDC, the State of CA and Riverside County Health Department. The approved eligible “tiers” are published on the Riverside County Public Health website. These eligible tiers change frequently as more and more people successfully get the vaccine or new tiers are approved. DOHC must and will follow the Riverside County guidance for who is currently eligible. When you become eligible to be vaccinated, DOHC will contact you with an appointment to get the vaccine.
I want the vaccine asap, can I be on a wait list?
As you can imagine, many people are calling with urgent health concerns related to COVID-19. If you are interested in leaving your name because you are interested in getting the vaccine, please visit MYDOHC.com (https://www.mydohc.com/patient-resources/covid-19/vaccine/vaccine-form/) and leave the requested information and you will be contacted when you become eligible for the vaccine.
Do I have to get my vaccine at DOHC or are there other options?
Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties have COVID Vaccine dashboards on their websites that include the ability to register for upcoming vaccine clinics they are offering.
San Bernardino County:
If I am not a DOHC patient, is there someone who can help me make an appointment to get a vaccine?
For people 65 and older needing assistance getting scheduled for the vaccine at a non DOHC site, call Riverside County Office of Aging 800-510-2020 or 2-1-1 for assistance.
Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or Visit CDC website: