Please note: This page is intended for internal VEBA staff ONLY. While the information is fine to share externally, direct access is not. Members or clients should be referred to our external COVID-19 Vaccine landing page. It can be accessed by visiting vebaonline.com and clicking on “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” or clicking on the grey bar at the top of vebaresourcecenter.com.
As the COVID-19 vaccine begins to roll out across the area, you may be receiving questions from VEBA Members, districts or unions. This page was intended to give you some background information about the vaccine and talking points you can share with external audiences.
Please contact the Communications Department at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
California Schools VEBA Webpage
The VEBA COVID-19 Vaccine Landing Page contains COVID-19 related information for VEBA Members.
The VEBA COVID-19 Vaccine landing page was designed to offer the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, the page features frequently asked questions, community resources, and links to local and national public health agencies. It connects Members to the newest information from VEBA carriers and medical groups.
VEBA was joined by Shane Crotty, Ph.D. from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, to present a webinar on the COVID-19 vaccine.
He discussed everything you need to know about the vaccine, such as how it works, effectiveness, safety and side effects.
Below are additional COVID-19 vaccination questions you may be receiving:
What is the COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccines are being developed to help prevent COVID-19. There are two vaccines at the front of the line for Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On December 11, 2020, the FDA issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in individuals 16 years of age and older. On December 18, 2020, the second EUA was issued for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The manufacturers report that both vaccines were approximately 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 disease.
How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccination does a member need?
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a two-dose series, three weeks apart, into the muscle.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a two-dose series, one month apart, into the muscle.
These vaccines are not interchangeable and both doses must be received from the same vaccine manufacturer. For example, a person receiving their first COVID-19 vaccination from Moderna must receive their second dose from Moderna as well for their vaccinations to be effective.
According to the CDC, it will take a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This means it is possible to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. Public health experts stress the importance of continuing to follow safety measures like wearing a mask and social distancing.
When the patient gets their first dose, they’ll be given a vaccination card that describes the brand of vaccine. The patient should hand this card to the healthcare worker when receiving the second dose so that the second dose of the same vaccine brand can be administered. It will also serve as proof of vaccination, so keep it in a safe place (consider taking a picture of the card as an extra safety measure).
After receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, the patient will be observed by a healthcare worker for up to 30 minutes after injection (in case of adverse reaction to inoculation).
A new tool, v-safe, has been developed by the CDC as an additional way to monitor safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. The convenient health checker is smartphone-based and should be used after you receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
What is the State of California’s plan for distributing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine?
The distribution of the vaccine plan was designed to be flexible to allow for the maximum number of vaccinations to occur. Currently, the federal government determines vaccine allocations to each state. The state works with distribution partners, like health systems (for example Sharp, Kaiser, CVS) and the public health department on local distribution.
Your local health department is a great resource to get the latest information on who is eligible to receive the vaccine. The VEBA COVID-19 vaccine landing page links to each local public health department.
Vaccine distribution is being determined at the county level. If you are not sure which county a VEBA district is in, please click here.
What are the different phases for COVID-19 vaccinations? What phase of the vaccinations are VEBA members in?
Currently there are these phases in the State of California plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution: Phase 1A, Phase 1B, and Phase 1C.
Educators are in Phase 1B, Tier 1. Progress toward this phase varies by county. If you receive an external question about current status, make sure you first check the county’s site or directly refer the member or client to this page for the latest information. Since news about vaccination availability is changing rapidly and vaccine phases differ by county, it is best to check the sites before advising members or clients.
Be aware that even though the State of California has given general guidance about vaccine phases and distribution schedules, it is up to each individual county to determine how the vaccine will be handled for their residents. For current vaccine phases, refer to the links on the VEBA landing page for each local public health department.
VEBA employees in San Diego County and Los Angeles County who work in a school district healthcare capacity, such as nurses, health office techs or health office administrative or supervisory staff are now eligible for vaccination under Phase 1A, Tier 3 guidelines. They will need an ID and documentation, on district letterhead, if they do not have a license to show.
The County of San Diego, in partnership with UC San Diego Health, San Diego Padres and the City of San Diego have opened a vaccination superstation at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week for eligible healthcare workers in San Diego County who have made an appointment online at www.VaccinationSuperStationSD.com.
For healthcare workers in Los Angeles County, vaccination appointments can be made online here.
If there are no available appointments, check back as more become available. Eligible healthcare employees can also check with their primary care doctor to determine if they have available appointments.
Moving through vaccine phases
After focused and appropriate efforts to reach the prioritized groups, vaccine providers may offer doses to people in lower priority groups when:
- Demand subsides in the current groups
- Doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions
The State of California has useful websites on COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
What about members 65 years and older?
Governor Newsom announced on January 13th that Californians 65 years and older would be prioritized for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Although this direction came from the State of California, each county can determine how to distribute the vaccine to their residents. Here is the latest from each county:
San Diego County
The County of San Diego is now vaccinating residents 75 and older. Reservations can be made at vaccinationsuperstationsd.com.
The County of San Diego is planning to make the vaccine available as soon as possible to those 65 years and older. However, the County has asked local providers to give priority to residents in this age group with underlying medical conditions. This group may be able to receive the vaccine if their providers have available doses. Members 65 and older can check the County’s vaccine page for updates.
Orange County is currently vaccinating residents 65 and older. They can sign up for a vaccination appointment through Othena. For vaccine information, members can go to the Orange County vaccine page.
San Bernardino County
All San Bernardino County residents 65 and over are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Members need to register here. For additional information, San Bernardino residents can visit the County’s dedicated vaccine page.
All Riverside County residents 65 and over are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Members will need an appointment and ID. They can register for an appointment here.
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County is currently vaccinating residents 65 and older. Appointments can be made here.
Imperial County is currently vaccinating residents 65 and older. For the latest, check their vaccine page.
How will I know when it’s my turn to get my COVID-19 vaccination?
Although general guidelines for vaccine phases are set at the national and state level, moving through each phase is determined at the regional level by your local public health department.
The State of California has launched “My Turn,” a pilot site that will let members check vaccine eligibility, schedule an appointment or register to be notified when it is their turn. Members can visit https://myturn.ca.gov/
Most medical groups are providing COVID-19 vaccine updates on their websites, here are links from our VEBA COVID-19 vaccination information page for some major medical groups in San Diego and in Southern California.
Many medical groups are planning to communicate electronically. To prepare for the next phase, members should be encouraged to login or create an online account in order to confirm their contact information.
Why should I get vaccinated?
- COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19 and may also protect people around you.
The Education sector (School Districts) was placed into Phase 1B of distribution of the vaccine because of the tremendous stress remote learning has placed on families. Everyone wants to get back to in-person instruction and getting vaccinated get us one step closer. All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection.
Most students will not be eligible for the vaccine any time soon, so the adults in school buildings are at higher risk for serious illness due to COVID-19. Students will depend on others getting vaccinated to ensure they are also gaining indirect protection through vaccines. The vaccine will help keep you, your family, your community and your country healthy and safe.
- The State of California has its own Scientific Safety Review Workgroup comprised of immunization, public health, academic and other experts who are vetting vaccine safety.
To not get vaccinated due to side effects means you choose exposure over the benefits of the vaccine. We all know that every medication you take has potential side effects. We truly believe the benefits outweigh the risk. The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has confirmed that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have met high standards for safety and efficacy.
- The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all VEBA members.
There is no cost to you for the vaccine, so everyone will be given the opportunity to get vaccinated over time.
- COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
School districts may require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of on-site work subject to exemptions required by state and/or federal law. Districts may allow employees to apply for an exemption, which makes sense. Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end: “Vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations in the arm saves lives!”
Where can I go for more information?
California Department of Public Health:
California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccines
State of California COVID-19 Information Hotline: 833-422-4255
M-F 8 am – 8 pm
Sa-Su 8 am – 5 pm
This hotline is available in several languages and is staffed by State of California employees.
State of California: