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Understanding COVID-19 Vaccines

Is the constantly changing vaccination news difficult to keep up with?

SNAHC is here to provide community members with a straight-forward understanding of current vaccines, and how and when to make an appointment to receive your vaccine in the Sacramento area.

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In mid-January of 2021, Sacramento County received a limited amount of vaccines ready to administer to the public. Since then, the vaccine has been administered based on priority. For example, individuals like healthcare workers and those 65 and older are being vaccinated sooner than those aged 16 – 50. For a comprehensive list of who is currently getting vaccinated and who is not, please click HERE. The most recent group added to the list of those being vaccinated NOW are those 65 years or older, and those in law enforcement and emergency services.

Vaccinations for the public are free and available regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status.

Want to see if you qualify for a vaccine and make an appointment in Sacramento County?

Please click HERE.

Curious to see which providers and pharmacies are currently administering the vaccine?

Please click HERE.

Would you like to complete a survey so that you will be notified of future Sacramento County vaccination clinics when they become available to you?

Please click HERE.

To join the weekly virtual (Zoom) Public Health Forum on Sacramento County Public Health & COVID-19, please click HERE.


How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

Vaccines are instructions we give to our bodies to create defenses against germs, including viruses! Vaccines work with your body’s natural defense mechanisms so that your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. This is called immunity.

Currently, there are two vaccines available for distribution: the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. These vaccine varieties are mRNA vaccines, and work within our bodies in similar ways. mRNA vaccines deliver instructions to your cells that teach them how to make the spike protein, which is a harmless replica of the COVID-19 virus. Next, our bodies respond to the spike protein and generate antibodies against it so that we are protected when we encounter the real virus. No pieces of the real virus are contained in the vaccine. The general mRNA vaccine platform has been developed and worked on for around the past 15 years.

Additionally, according to top U.S. medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, a newer Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be available sometime in March 2021. This vaccine will be a single-shot vaccine and is currently projected to be 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 cases.

So far, as of February 3rd, 2021, more than 27 million Americans have received a first dose, and more than six million have been fully vaccinated. Those who have been fully vaccinated have not had to be hospitalized due to COVID-19.


Is the vaccine safe?

Of the two vaccine varieties currently available, more than 70,000 people of different ages, races, ethnicities, and medical conditions participated in clinical trials to make sure vaccines meet safety standards. Additionally, vaccines follow FDA safety guidelines.

COVID-19 vaccine creation has occurred at a faster rate due to the large amount of research and funding.

Please note that the vaccine is NOT COVID-19, and you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

If you experience side effects post-vaccine, like soreness, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, or fatigue, this means our immune system is working hard to keep us safe by creating antibodies against COVID-19!

For a more extensive Vaccine FAQ, please click HERE.


In conclusion . . .

A combination of getting the vaccine when it becomes available to you and continuing to take the protective steps you’ve already been taking – like socially distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home – can stop the COVID-19 crisis. These are the only way out of the pandemic!

Stay healthy, Sacramento!


For any additional questions you may have, please email:​​​

For SNAHC-specific questions, please email:

Jeanine Gaines



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