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All Californians 16+ Are Now Eligible For A Free COVID-19 Vaccine

A vaccinator draws a dose of vaccine out of a vial using a syringe.
A pharmacist at UCI Health Center preps the COVID-19 vaccine.
(Chava Sanchez
/
LAist)
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Starting April 15, all Californians 16+ are officially eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine.

We’ve been answering your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines for a few months now, so if you’re unsure about something, take a look - it’s likely been covered. (And if not, you can ask us here).

If you’re ready to make your own vaccine game plan, we have a checklist of all the things you’ll have to consider, from how to get an appointment to how you’ll get to your appointment, what you’ll need to bring with you, and what you can – and can’t – do after you’re vaccinated.

What About Teens?

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If you’re 16 or 17 and want to get vaccinated (or are the parent of a teen who is eligible and wants to get vaccinated), there are a couple extra steps that you need to take to make sure you’re able to get the right shot into your arm.

First, you have to make sure your appointment is for a Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer is the only vaccine currently available here that has emergency authorization for ages 16 and 17. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (which, as of April 13, is on pause) are both for people 18 and older for now.

If you’re booking through the state’s booking portal, MyTurn, most providers will let you know what brand of vaccine they offer at the end of the site name (either “- Pfizer” or “- Moderna”).

A screenshot of myturn.ca.gov that shows what happens when you click on a vaccine site. The image reads: "Mega POD Forum - RESIDENTS OF FLORENCE/WATTS ONLY - Pfizer" then says that the site is 16.07 miles away and gives the site address as 3900 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90305. It says the site is "Open 9 am - 4 pm Tue, 9 am - 4 pm Sat" and has a big blue button that says "See availability."
When looking on MyTurn, many locations will tell you what type of vaccine that site offers.
(Screenshot of myturn.ca.gov)

If you live in Los Angeles, you can also use the Los Angeles County booking portal.

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There are volunteer groups out there trying to help eligible people book appointments, like Get Out The Shot LA. One of the cofounders, Liz Schwandt, pointed out the LA County portal displays what type of vaccines each site offers in a rectangle in the upper right hand corner.

A screenshot of VaccinateLACounty.com that shows what happens if you click on a site. The screenshot reads "St. Johns - Compton Health Center" and has a rectangle in the upper right hand corner that says "Pfizer." Then, it gives the site's address -- 2115 N. Wilmington Ave. Compton, CA 90222" and shows appointment availability for 4/14/2021 5-71:15 pm (Full) and 4/15/2021 5-7:15pm (Full).
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health booking portal has rectangles in the upper right hand corner that tell you what type of vaccine that site offers.
(Screenshot of VaccinateLACounty.com )

“If you are a teen and only approved for the Pfizer vaccine, I would definitely recommend calling and double checking, especially for folks who don't have that flexibility with time or transportation,” Schwandt added.

What - And Who - To Bring With You

When it’s time for your appointment, you should bring the same things as everyone else, including:

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  • A mask
  • Something with your photo and name on it (This does not have to be government issued. You are eligible regardless of your immigration status).
  • Something that proves your age and where you live
  • Fluids
  • A shirt or top that gives your vaccinator easy access to your arm

But if you’re 16 or 17, you’ll also have to remember to bring:

  • Your parent or legal guardian. They’ll need to be there to provide consent for you to get vaccinated because you’re a minor.
    • If your parent or legal guardian cannot accompany you – and you're getting a shot at a site run by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health – have them fill out this consent form.

Are you a teen preparing to get your COVID-19 vaccine this week (or the parent of a teen)? We want to talk to you for a story. Reach out via email or this form, and we’ll be in touch.

This story was reported with help from intern Zoe Ives.