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Health
How To Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment In LA (And Across SoCal)
Booking an appointment for your free COVID-19 vaccine can be an exercise in managing emotions. Here is our guide that can help you.
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Booking an appointment for your free COVID-19 vaccine can be an exercise in managing emotions. Frustration, exhaustion, impatience and confusion come to mind.

The vaccine rollout has been plagued by supply issues, delays, changing orders, chaos and inequity. And in counties with cities that have their own health departments, it can be even harder to know which plan to follow.

Also, you have to make sure you're eligible.

To keep track of all the moving parts, we reached out to cities and counties in the greater Los Angeles area for specifics. This is an evolving landscape, so please follow up with the resources below to confirm the most current details.

Here's your guide to booking vaccine appointments in Southern California. Find your location below :

L.A. County

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? The county has a list of current eligibility tiers here.

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How do I book an appointment? You can make an appointment at a public health "mega-POD" site, L.A. city "POD" site, community clinic/hospital or pharmacy offering the vaccine to community members here. This site is pretty dense, so feel free to pour yourself a glass of wine or do a breathing meditation before you begin.

For those who don't have access to the internet, or are less web savvy, appointments can also be made via phone at 833-540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 pm. Be advised that wait times may be long.

Where do I go? The county vaccine site actually has a color-coded google map for this, so you can see which vaccine location is closest to you.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? You can contact your personal doctor or health insurance company about the vaccine, or if you scroll down on this page you will get to a section on pharmacies, including Albertsons, Pavilions, Ralphs, Rite Aid and Vons, that are administering the vaccine to residents. You can schedule shots through each pharmacy's appointment system, which is linked on the same page.

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How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this? The L.A. County Department of Public Health has a newsletter to notify residents when their turn for the vaccine comes. Use VaccinateLACounty.com to sign up. Just enter your email address in the box at the top of the screen, and you should start getting the newsletter on which groups are currently eligible to receive it. VaccinateLACounty.com also posts updates on vaccine locations, appointment openings and weather issues (e.g., when certain vaccination locations have to temporarily close due to rain or wind).

You can also follow L.A. County Public Health on Twitter.

Anything else I need to know?

  • The county public health "Mega-PODs" are large-scale vaccination sites that are drive-through only.
  • The county public health "PODs" at the Balboa and El Sereno sites are not drive-through. You can drive and park, arrive on foot, or come by public transportation or rideshare.
  • All vaccinations are by appointment only.
  • If appointments are full, county officials recommend checking the website frequently; if people cancel, new spots may open up.

L.A. City

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? As an L.A. city resident, you'd be eligible under county guidelines (we know, it's confusing). The county has a list of current eligibility tiers here.

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How do I book an appointment? The city vaccination portal is operated by Carbon Health. You can sign up for an appointment here.

Where do I go? The city of L.A. operates five vaccination sites. You can see them on this map:

How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this?

  • The city has a newsletter that is supposed to alert residents when they are eligible for the shot. You can sign up at the bottom of the Carbon Health vaccine site (scroll down and click the black button that says 'Keep Me Updated').
  • The city's vaccine website is fairly thin, but it does have an FAQ section and some other links. Carbon Health also has a website with more information.
  • The city of Los Angeles tweets about a lot of things - vaccines are one of those things. But it will often tweet important updates, e.g., if a vaccination site is closed due to a storm. Follow it here.
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti often gives coronavirus updates on his Facebook page, and mentions vaccines. These are sporadic, but tend to happen at 5:15 p.m. on select weekdays. The mayor tweets here.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? You'd book via the L.A. County site links (see L.A. County section above).

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Anything else I need to know?

  • City sites are run by the Los Angeles City Fire Department.
  • The Dodger Stadium vaccination site is drive-through only. The other sites are walk-up so you can drive and park, or arrive on foot, by public transportation or rideshare (again, a good note for car-less or disabled folks).
  • All of the city-run sites offer the Moderna vaccine.

Long Beach

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? The city has a list of eligible groups here on its main website. If you scroll down, you'll see a bulleted list, as well as tiers/phases.

How do I book an appointment? Appointments can be made here or by calling 562-570-INFO. Long Beach residents are also eligible to get vaccinated through L.A. County sites (see above).

Where do I go? Long Beach doesn't have an online list or map of vaccine locations. "The 'where' changes depending on what's happening," a spokesperson told us. The city is also working on creating more small clinics, which will focus on harder-to-reach communities, but those locations will also be in flux.

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How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this? You can sign up to find out when your turn comes via VaxLB. You can also follow the city via Twitter for major news.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy?

  • City health officials recommend that you contact your healthcare provider to see if you can get vaccinated through them.
  • MemorialCare and Optum are both offering vaccines to members.
  • Pharmacies in Long Beach have limited access to vaccine doses.

"We will use VaxLB to connect those 65 and older, food workers and educators to first doses from pharmacies once we get more supply," a city of Long Beach spokesperson said. "Aviva, AHF Pharmacy, Ralphs and Vons are among the pharmacies that we allocate to."

Pasadena

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? The city has a list of currently eligible groups here.

How do I book an appointment?

  • Officials are urging residents to contact their doctors first.
  • The website says: "If you cannot get vaccinated through your employer or healthcare provider, call our Citizen Service Center at (626) 744-7311 or complete the online inquiry form to receive future appointment notices from Pasadena Public Health Department as more vaccine supplies become available."
  • Pasadena does not have an appointment website.
  • Pasadena residents can also sign up through L.A. County (see above). Keep in mind, if you receive your first dose at a distribution site managed by L.A. County, you will need to receive your second dose through L.A. County.

Where do I go? Pasadena's vaccination sites change often; the city doesn't provide this information until you get an appointment. There is no map or list of vaccination sites on its website.

How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this? You can check Pasadena's very bare bones vaccine website here. The city occasionally posts updates on Twitter here.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? Officials say residents and the community should coordinate with their healthcare providers if they'd like to receive the vaccine that way.

Anything else I need to know? A spokesperson for the city of Pasadena told us that officials don't know how much vaccine they're going to receive week to week, so they're currently focusing on second doses.

Riverside County

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? You can find a list of eligible groups here.

How do I book an appointment? You can find locations and available appointment times here. Seniors who need help making an appointment can call 211.

Where do I go? Locations, addresses and registration info are on the county's vaccination website.

How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this?

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? The county is offering vaccinations through "community partners," including Albertsons and Ralphs. You can find more info here.

Ventura County

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? You can find a list of eligible groups here.

How do I book an appointment? Appointments open every Monday. You can book here. Community members who are eligible to be vaccinated but have limited computer/internet access should call this number on Mondays: 805-477-7161.

Where do I go? The county doesn't provide this information; unfortunately, you'll have to wait until you get an appointment to find out exactly where to go.

How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this? If appointments are full, you can sign up here to get notifications from the county. Ventura also posts important updates on the county's Facebook page.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? If you scroll to the bottom of this website, you can find a list of pharmacies offering the vaccine.

Anything else I need to know?

  • You can register for vaccine updates here.
  • The "Area Agency on Aging" provides transportation services for older adults who need transportation to a vaccine appointment (or for COVID-19 testing). The driver will even wait until the appointment is finished to take the person home. To schedule a ride, call 805-477-7300.

San Bernardino County

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? The county's current tiers/phases are listed here.

How do I book an appointment? You can see a list of vaccination site locations, available appointment times and registration links via CalVax here. The links allow you to book a time slot.

How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this? San Bernardino County residents can call (909) 387-3911 or email: coronavirus@DPH.sbcounty.gov for help scheduling appointments and/or general vaccine questions.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? The county vaccine website also has a list of hospitals and pharmacies offering the vaccine, with appointment-scheduling links.

Anything else I need to know?

  • You can sign up to volunteer here. Just be aware that volunteering doesn't necessarily mean you get a vaccine!
  • The county website also has an FAQ page, with basic info from organizations like the CDC and WHO.

Orange County

Am I eligible to get a vaccine right now? Orange County has a list of those currently eligible here.

How do I book an appointment?

● If you live and/or work in Orange County, you can register at www.Othena.com or through the Othena app. How it works: you create a profile with an email address and password (make sure you get an email confirming that you're in the system). You should get an email notification from Othena when an appointment opens up for you.

● When Othena first launched in January it was overloaded with traffic, and OC residents have continued to report problems with the site/app since. You can call Orange County's COVID-19 hotline if you have issues or questions about Othena: (714) 834-2000. Hours are 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. Or you can email support@compositeapps.net

Where do I go?

● The four county-run super PODs ("points of distribution") are at Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center, Santa Ana College, and Soka University in Aliso Viejo. From March 4-7, the Disneyland site will be closed to convert to a drive-thru only site for people with disabilities.

Tips: Don't arrive too early (no more than 30 minutes before your appointment time). You may want to bring a folding chair or stool if you have any trouble standing for long periods of time. Having the Othena app installed on your phone when you arrive for your appointment is helpful, but not required. You can also just bring a printout of your appointment confirmation or show officials the email confirmation on your phone.

● The Soka University location has a drive-thru option for people with disabilities who have appointments. A disabled parking placard or license plate is required.

● Orange County is also operating mobile PODs with a focus on "vulnerable seniors in critically underserved communities," according to the OC Health Care Agency website.

How will I know when the situation changes? Where can I get the latest news about this? You can check www.CovidVaccineFacts.com, where you can sign up for a weekly email newsletter with updates from the county. Also follow @ochealth and @ocgovCA on Twitter and Facebook.

What if I want to go to my doctor or a pharmacy? Orange County officials recommend that you check with your health care provider and/or your employer about getting vaccinated.

    CVS is distributing the vaccine at 100 California locations, with some sites in Orange County. Appointments are required. More info is available here or by calling 833-574-2273.

    Anything else I need to know?

    • After some delays, the Othena app and website are now available in English, Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese.
    • The city of Santa Ana is also posting information here for vaccine appointments (for residents of Santa Ana).
    • If you've registered for an appointment through Othena but have since been vaccinated elsewhere (like at a pharmacy, community clinic, or through your health care provider), you can deactivate your profile on the Othena app or send a deactivation request to Othena at support@compositeapps.net.

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