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Updated: How to get your first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses in L.A. County

People watching the sunset over the Dodger Stadium parking lot
A couple watches the sun set behind downtown Los Angeles and the Dodger Stadium parking lot, which is now a major vaccination site.
(Associated Press)

UPDATE: March 3: There is a newer version of this article with more up-to-date information. Read it here.

Both the city and county of Los Angeles have released confusing and at times conflicting information about how people will sign up to get the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Right now, the system that’s in place puts much of the onus on the patient. This article has the most up-to-date and complete information, but it may change. We will do our best to keep this article updated with the most recent guidance.

If you work at a pharmacy or hospital and were first vaccinated there, reach out to your employer to find out more information about the process for your second dose.

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This information is for residents of L.A. County. Guides for residents of other counties in Southern California are listed here.

L.A. County is now vaccinating older residents. Here’s how to sign up to find out when you get can one.

Signing up for your first dose

Am I eligible? Right now, L.A. County is vaccinating healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and people 65 and older. Find out if you’re eligible to be vaccinated — and be alerted when it’s your turn — by checking California’s new My Turn tool (myturn.ca.gov) or by calling the California COVID-19 hotline at (833) 422-4255 (available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

If you are not yet eligible for the vaccine, sign up for the vaccine newsletter at the top of the county’s website to receive updates.

OK, I’m eligible. Now what? The city of Los Angeles has partnered with Carbon Health to administer vaccines. Sign up on Carbon Health’s website (carbonhealth.com/covid-19-vaccines). According to the city, all L.A. County residents who are eligible can make an appointment through Carbon Health when slots are available.

In addition, all eligible L.A. County residents, including people who live in the city of Los Angeles, can go through the county public health agency website (VaccinateLACounty.com) to make an appointment when slots are available. On that site, click on “click here to book an appointment” or call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

But appointment slots aren’t always available. If you try to make an appointment and all the slots are booked, you’ll have to wait until more open up. The county has been announcing new appointments in a variety of ways:

  • Keep checking the Carbon Health and L.A. County websites to see whether there are new appointments available.
  • Sign up for the Vaccinate LA newsletter, which sometimes sends emails to eligible residents when slots are opened.
  • Check the L.A. County Department of Public Health’s Twitter account page (@LAPublicHealth), which sometimes posts tweets announcing when more appointments are available. You do not need to use Twitter or have an account to view their page — you can bookmark it and return to it at any time to see updates.

The process for getting a COVID-19 vaccine varies county to county.

How to get your second dose

The process for scheduling an appointment to get the critical second dose of the vaccine has, like many other aspects of the vaccine rollout, generated confusion.

Do I need to make the second appointment myself? No. At first, patients at city- and county-run sites were told they would need to go online and make their own second-dose appointments. That is no longer the case. The city and county both now say that second-dose appointments will be scheduled automatically for the appropriate number of days after the first. Patients should receive an email asking to confirm the date and time via email, along with instructions about how to move the appointment if needed.

What if I never got an email about my second appointment? As with all mass email communication, first double-check that it didn’t land in your spam folder.

If it’s not there, you will still be eligible for your second dose. This week, the county updated its website to say that if people never received the email with information about their second appointment, they should return to the location where they got their first dose at the same time after the appropriate number of days had passed (that’s 21 days later if you got Pfizer; 28 days later if you got Moderna). You must bring photo ID and your vaccine record card or an electronic vaccine record.

What if I got vaccinated somewhere else? If you received your first dose at a pharmacy, health center, or other location not run by the city or county, reach out to the provider or site and ask for guidance.

What happens if I don’t get my second dose on time? According to the CDC, you do not need to get the second dose of the vaccine exactly 21 or 28 days after the first. Second doses can be administered up to 6 weeks, or 42 days, after you get the first shot.

COVID-19 vaccines are now being administered to healthcare workers in the U.S. What are your questions about the timeline, the safety or the science?


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