COVID-19 Vaccine Information

 

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FAQ - COVID-19 Vaccine Process for School Employees

Last Updated 4/12/21

Which school employees are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
All San Diego County school employees are now eligible for vaccination.

Leaders at all schools have been provided information on how to submit eligible employees to VEBA. Once VEBA receives submissions from qualifying schools, those employees receive an email with details on how to make an appointment to be vaccinated.

Employees of K-12 schools should not make appointments through the county’s reservation portals; only appointments made through VEBA’s portal will be honored.

School nurses, health technicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other employees who as a function of the job assignment are required to care for children who become ill at school remain eligible to be vaccinated as health care workers as part of Phase 1A.

Individuals who qualify under another tier (not using their status as an education worker) should first contact their doctor or other medical provider if interested in being vaccinated for COVID-19. If you are not able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination from your doctor or other medical provider, healthcare workers and individuals in Phase 1 and Phase 2 (50 and older) may visit County vaccination sites. County vaccination appointment information can be found here. Vaccination for the general population 16 years of age and older begins April 15, 2021.

To stay up to date, please visit the following: 

 

If schools don’t have nurses or health techs but have a secretary designated to assist ill children, can they get vaccinated?
Yes, if they are part of the health care team and giving direct assistance to sick kids. For individuals who fulfill this role, but it’s not indicated on their school I.D., we recommend bringing a letter signed by the school nurse stating that you care for ill children at the school. 


What is VEBA?
California Schools VEBA (VEBA), a non-profit health care trust, is committed to ensuring all education members have access to equitable and high quality care. As part of this mission, VEBA has volunteered to coordinate the aggregation and validation of K-12 and community college education employees in San Diego County.

 

Why are VEBA and SDCOE involved in vaccinating school employees?
Because of the large number of people in Phase 1b, the County of San Diego asked SDCOE and VEBA to assist in vaccination appointment scheduling.
SDCOE's role is to work with schools to notify them of eligibility based on criteria set by the County of San Diego. VEBA will serve in a volunteer capacity to maintain the eligibility portal and coordinate the appointment process for eligible employees. 


 
Are charter and private school employees eligible to be vaccinated through VEBA? What if my school or district is not a member of VEBA? 
All employees of TK-12 district, charter, and private schools are eligible to participate in the VEBA vaccination events, regardless of their insurance status. There is no cost for participating in a VEBA vaccination event and no insurance information will be collected.

With the opening of Phase 1B - Tier 1, community college employees are eligible to participate in the county vaccination sites. Following the TK-12 vaccination rollout, any remaining eligible community college employees will be able to enroll in a VEBA vaccination event. 

 

Is Kaiser offering vaccinations to school employees? Is there an accessibility code?
Any employee who wishes to get a vaccine under the criterion of “educator” must do so through the VEBA-administered vaccination process when they are eligible. SDCOE has not received any accessibility codes. 

 

Are employees that don’t work at a school site or directly with children eligible for the vaccine? Does it include both certificated and classified employees?
All school employees are included, whether they work directly with children or in a support role. This includes all permanent K-12 employees of a district or school, substitutes who regularly accept work at a school, temporary employees, student teachers, and the employees of third-party contractors who are regularly engaged in in-person work with children on school campuses. 

 

Will the vaccine be mandatory for school employees?
The decision to require that employees be vaccinated is one that can only be made at the local level. School leaders should consult their legal counsel for guidance on this issue.

 

Where will vaccination appointments be available?
As of Feb. 25, 2021 VEBA will be working with UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare to offer appointments at the following locations:

  • UC San Diego Health Locations
    • Recreation, Intramural, and Athletic Complex (RIMAC) on UC San Diego Campus
    • Sharp Healthcare Locations
      • Grossmont Center
      • CSU San Marcos
      • Chula Vista Center
      • Coronado
      • Knollwood Building

 
How do I know if I’m eligible to make an appointment? How will I make an appointment?
School leaders will receive an email from SDCOE with details on how to submit information on eligible employees to VEBA. Once VEBA receives submissions from qualifying schools, employees will receive a notification from VEBA with details on how to make an appointment to be vaccinated.

 

Is there a recommended procedure if there are additional employees to add but the spreadsheet has already been uploaded to VEBA?
K-12 school leaders can submit an additional spreadsheet if they have additional employees to include.


 
We have staff that already have been vaccinated. Do we need to tell VEBA to remove them?
No, it’s not necessary to notify VEBA.

 

Where would I turn to help an eligible employee who continues to get a "you’re not eligible" message?
Start by having them confirm the information that you shared with VEBA. Any difference in what the employee enters in the portal could result in an ineligible message. VEBA needs at least two days to upload any information you submit, so if that amount of time has not passed, be patient. Employees should also be on the lookout for an email invitation from updates@vebavaccinates.com. If none of that works, the employer should contact VEBA at VEBAvaccinates@mcgregorinc.com.


If we uploaded a roster to VEBA and did not get a link, who should we contact?
VEBA needs at least two days to upload any information you submit, so if that amount of time has not passed, please be patient. Emailed invitations will come from updates@vebavaccinates.com so double check your spam filter to make sure it has not been intercepted. If nobody is notified after two full-days the employer should contact VEBA at VEBAvaccinates@mcgregorinc.com.

 

What do we do if we haven't heard or received any VEBA information for our school?
SDCOE has provided instructions on how to submit employee information to VEBA to all school leaders who have been submitting reports for the school reopening dashboard. If your school has not been contacted, please email bmueller@sdcoe.net. If you have submitted employee information to VEBA and two full-days have passed without a message from VEBA, the employer should send an inquiry via VEBAvaccinates@mcgregorinc.com.

 

If a school has questions on the VEBA process who should they contact?
If a school leader has questions about the eligibility of employees or how to submit data, please email communications@sdcoe.net. If you have technical concerns, you may contact VEBAvaccinates@mcgregorinc.com. Please do not contact VEBA to request information on the type of vaccine available at individual sites.

 

If a staff member was eligible for vaccination and received it prior to receiving the VEBA email, should they notify VEBA they already received the vaccine?
No, there is no need to notify VEBA.

 

If school employees go through their health care provider to get the vaccine, how do they know if their health care provider has the vaccine available? Should they rely on their health care provider to notify them when the vaccine is available or should they contact them? 
Please call your health care provider or check their website for information on vaccine availability. 

 

What do school employees need to show as proof of their position in a district?

  • For health care workers at County sites: Employees should bring with them two forms of identification. A government issued photo ID and proof of employment in the form of a school ID badge, paystub, or letter from the school. Visit the County’s Vaccine Appointment website for more information.
  • Education employees at a VEBA vaccination sites: Employees will need to bring the following:
    • Confirmation Email
    • Photo ID
    • Documentation verifying that you are an education employee within eligible Phase 1B groups:
      • School District Employee ID Badge with your Photo OR,
      • Signed letter from your School District Employer on facility letterhead OR,
      • Recent payment stub from your School District Employer

Visit the County’s Vaccine Appointment website for more information.

 

Can we work with our local fire department to vaccinate school employees?
Schools may work with any provider to vaccinate school employees. We cannot ensure that local fire departments currently have the supplies or capacity to vaccinate school employees.

 

Do school staff need to continue participating in COVID-19 testing after they are fully vaccinated?
Yes, testing is still necessary. Currently authorized vaccines have demonstrated very high levels of effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 symptoms, but studies are underway that prove they can also prevent transmission of COVID-19. Both currently approved vaccines do NOT use the live virus that causes COVID-19 so there is no chance of receiving a false positive after being vaccinated.

 

Do I have to wait awhile after receiving the vaccine like I do with the flu shot?
There is a 15-minute observation period that is standard after receiving any vaccine (not just for COVID-19) that still applies to people with no contraindications. If there is a history of allergic reaction, 30 minutes. Please discuss with your provider if you have a history of severe reactions. 

 

Will school nurses be vaccinating school employees?
There are no plans for school nurses to vaccinate school employees

 

Will children be vaccinated against COVID-19?
At this time, the available vaccinations are approved only for individuals 16 and older. Children 16 and older will be vaccinated according to the County’s phased plan. We do not have a clear timeline for when children under 16 will be able to get vaccinated. Clinical trials are currently under way for children ages 12-17 and those under 12.years of age.

 

Should I be vaccinated if I have any pre-existing conditions or special health considerations? 
Please review the CDC’s list of clinical considerations prior to receiving the vaccine. Due to being at increased risk of severe COVID-19, those with underlying conditions are generally strongly recommended to receive the vaccine.

 

Do we need to continue using the traditional prevention measures in the school setting, even if teachers and staff are vaccinated?
Yes. Implementation of layered prevention strategies will need to continue until we better understand potential transmission among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine and there is more vaccination coverage in the community. Cal/OSHA regulations still require that all employees wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing, regardless of vaccination status.

In addition, vaccines are not yet approved for use in children under 16 years old. For these reasons, even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue prevention measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks in schools and physical distancing.

Visit the County of San Diego schools site for additional vaccine-related FAQs.
 

General Information About the Vaccine


Answers to these questions are provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please visit their website for additional details. 

What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. All vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized for emergency use only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19. Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Learn more from the CDC.

 

Where can I learn more about the vaccines currently available for COVID-19?
The CDC has information about the different types of vaccines currently available.

 

How does the vaccine work?
Please visit the CDC’s website for details. 

 

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

 

Are two doses of the vaccine necessary? 
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed for the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease. The vaccine produced by Janssen/J&J is administered as a single dose. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available?
COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.

However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.

Additionally, current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the months after initial infection. Therefore, people with a recent infection may choose to delay vaccination for a few months, if desired.
 
 
When will booster doses be needed?

The need for and timing of booster doses for the COVID-19 vaccines has not been established. No additional doses beyond the single dose or two-dose primary series are recommended at this time. 
 

Why would a vaccine be needed if we can do other things, like physical distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
 
 

Is immunity better achieved with natural infection or the vaccine?
The vaccine is the safest way to acquire immunity to COVID-19. See benefits of getting vaccinated. Some not hospitalized still have long term effects, which range from annoying to clinically meaningful.
 

Do I need to continue wearing a mask, physical distancing, hand washing, and following coughing and sneezing etiquette after I have been fully vaccinated?
Yes. The vaccines that have been approved have proven to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms. It is not known at this time if they actually prevent people from becoming infected with or transmitting the virus to others.
 

Information for Vaccinated Individuals

I’ve received my vaccine. When am I considered fully vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces – in public places until we know more, until you are fully vaccinated.

 

I am fully vaccinated. What am I able to do now? (Per CDC)
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. Read more about travel here.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

The safest actions for individuals right now are those allowed under CDC, State, and local public health guidance. Even though your risk for developing COVID-19 is reduced, the people around you may not have been vaccinated and are still at risk. Additionally, more is still being learned about the virus variants and how well the vaccine works against them. The goal is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for everyone.

 

What COVID-19 safety precautions should I continue to use and in what situations if I’m fully vaccinated? 

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
    • In public
    • Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household
    • Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk

You should also still:

  • Avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • Follow guidance at your workplace.

Read more about what you should keep doing from CDC

 

How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. It should take up to 14 days after your last dose for you to be fully protected. Based on available data, the COVID-19 vaccine provides strong protection for at least three months, including against severe illness if you get sick. Research over time will confirm how long the protection lasts, and additional doses may be needed in the future to boost protection.

 

Do we need to continue using the traditional prevention measures in the school setting, even if teachers and staff are vaccinated?
Yes. Implementation of layered prevention strategies will need to continue until we better understand potential transmission among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine and there is more vaccination coverage in the community. Cal/OSHA regulations still require that all employees wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing, regardless of vaccination status.

In addition, vaccines are not yet approved for use in children under 16 years old. For these reasons, even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue prevention measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks in schools and physical distancing.

Visit the County of San Diego schools site for additional vaccine-related FAQs.

 

What can we expect if we continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions after vaccination?
As we continue to follow guidelines, we should see a drop in COVID-19 cases, ICUs, hospitalizations, outbreaks, and deaths. If this drop keeps going down in the right direction, more businesses and locations can reopen, more families can be together in person, and more individuals can travel without the stress and limits of a global pandemic. Things may not return to the routine before COVID-19, but the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines offers the best way to move forward.
 

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