What to Know Today
Latest Vaccine approvals and recommendations
Guidance for people who are immunocompromised
Recent isolation and quarantine guidelines
Travel: domestic and international guidelines
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The benefits of vaccination
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and a critical tool to end the pandemic. Getting vaccinated can help prevent you from getting seriously ill or suffering complications from COVID-19-related illness. Click here to better understand why the CDC encourages widespread vaccination.
V-safe is a vaccine safety monitoring system used by the CDC to better understand how individuals like you are reacting to the COVID-19 vaccine. Using health check-ins right from your smartphone, share your side effects to help the CDC track and identify any adverse reactions you’ve experienced—however minor—following your initial doses or booster shots.
Been vaccinated in the last 6 weeks?
Sign up for V-safe – your participation helps ensure COVID-19 vaccine safety for everyone.
Seeking an at home rapid test?
The Federal Government is providing each household 4 free COVID-19 at-home tests. Order your tests at https://www.covidtests.gov/.
Health insurance providers are now required to provide 8 free COVID-19 at-home tests (or a reimbursement path) for each covered beneficiary per month. Check with your insurance provider on how to obtain your tests.
Our Support team is available to walk you through any questions or concerns you may have. They can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm PST at 866-657-7991.
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Why virtual care
Virtual care is one of the most impactful tools available in the fight against COVID-19. Text-based care allows us to evaluate symptoms without you risking exposure or potentially passing the illness to others, which helps prevent further spread of the virus.
We’re here for you
If you’re experiencing symptoms or need guidance about COVID-19 or the vaccine, you can always start a visit 24/7, from anywhere
How do I know the vaccines are safe?
Vaccine trials generally last many months to ensure that they are safe. The trials are monitored by an independent team of experts. If this independent data and the safety monitoring board find the vaccine to be safe, it then goes through two more layers of scrutiny (Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) before being authorized for use in humans. In short, the path to vaccine approval is complex, multilayered and errs on the side of patient safety. Although we are in unprecedented times, you should rest assured that regulatory and scientific bodies (such as the CDC and FDA) are taking every possible precaution to ensure that any vaccine that you receive is both safe and effective. While some rare side -effects have occurred with the authorized COVID-19 vaccines and are understandably concerning, they also demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccine safety is important and the FDA takes reports of adverse effects seriously so they can make their most informed, timely decision. The FDA and the CDC continue to ensure that the safety and benefits of all COVID-19 vaccines far outweigh the associated risks.
Can my child be vaccinated?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been authorized by the FDA for use in children ages 6 months and up. COVID-19 vaccine dosage is based on age on the day of vaccination.
Who is eligible for a third/booster shot?
All vaccinated individuals ages 12+, as well as children ages 5–11 with immune deficiencies, should get an additional (booster) shot. Boosters are recommended 5 months after the completion of the initial series of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine and 2 months after the J&J vaccine. A second booster is now recommended for individuals ages 50+ whose first booster was at least 4 months ago. For individuals who are immunocompromised, the CDC has provided additional guidance. If you have further questions, please start a visit.
Is vaccination for my child safe?
Yes. Pfizer studied the safety of the vaccine in more than 3,000 vaccinated children ages 5–11. Localized reactions to the vaccine were slightly higher for redness and swelling in this age group as compared to 16-25 year olds. Systemic reactions (e.g., fever, headache) were equivalent or significantly lower in every category except for swollen lymph glands. There were no cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, no serious adverse events related to the vaccine and no deaths occurred. The vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing disease in this age group.
How can I get vaccinated?
Your local health department determines how vaccines are distributed. Click here to select your state or territory via the CDC; you’ll get routed to the appropriate website where you can find relevant resources, answer questions about eligibility and pre-register to reserve a spot to get a vaccine.
Which booster can I/should I get? Can I mix vaccines?
Eligible persons 18+ may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, while others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
CDC recommends that all children 5-11 years who received the Pfizer initial series should receive a booster 5 months after the initial series was completed.
What is the difference between each of the vaccines?
The first two vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are made using mRNA technology that requires two shots 3–4 weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is our first one-shot option. Despite different makeups and criteria around storage, these vaccines all work in the same way: teaching your immune system to protect you against COVID-19 by making an antibody to the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Think of the COVID-19 spike protein as a key that unlocks a door on your healthy cells, allowing the virus to enter. Once you make an antibody to the spike protein (with the help of the vaccine), the shape of the key changes and the virus will not be able to enter your cells and make you sick.
Which vaccine should I get?
Three vaccines are approved/authorized for use in the United States. The current recommendation is that the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are preferred over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. The J&J vaccine should be considered only if mRNA vaccines are not available or appropriate because of contraindications.
I had COVID-19. Do I need to get vaccinated?
Yes, according to recommendations from the CDC. There are still unknowns around re-infection (new variants) and how long immunity lasts. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, speak to your healthcare provider as there may be some timing restrictions on when you can take the vaccine.
What side effects might I expect?
The most common reactions reported for all 3 approved vaccines are fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and pain at the injection site. The symptoms seem to be more significant after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, although some people may just feel tired for a day or two and others have no side effects at all.
Should I “pre-medicate” with pain relievers prior to receiving my vaccine?
No. Some evidence has indicated that the use of anti-inflammatories may interfere with the body’s immune response. While there is no definitive conclusion, experts recommend avoiding acetaminophen and NSAIDs prior to vaccination to ensure maximum immune response and vaccine effectiveness.
Should I get the J&J vaccine?
The current recommendation is that the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are preferred over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. The J&J vaccine should be considered only if mRNA vaccines are not available or appropriate because of contraindications.
I’m young and healthy. Why do I need to get a vaccine?
Vaccination helps keep you from getting COVID-19 or experiencing serious, life-threatening complications from the virus. More importantly, widespread vaccination is key to ending the pandemic. After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you can also return to some activities that you stopped doing, such as gathering indoors with friends without masks or physical distancing and traveling within the U.S. without testing or self-quarantining. Click here for the CDC’s complete guide to the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Who is at risk for serious illness from COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults of increasing age and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease have a higher risk of developing complications from this illness.
Outside this high-risk group, a complete recovery is likely. There are reports of complications in a subset of COVID-19 patients including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in children and respiratory, neurological, kidney and vascular effects on adults. Also bear in mind that people of all ages and levels of risk can transmit the infection and increase the spread.
Click here for the most complete and updated list from the CDC of people at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
How can I protect myself and my family?
The best way to prevent illness is to take the right precautions, as guided by the CDC. This includes:
- Getting vaccinated. Everyone ages 6 months+ is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Practicing good hygiene and modeling these behaviors for your children. This includes covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue away, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and regularly and thoroughly cleaning hands with an alcohol-based rub or washing them with soap and water.
- Staying current on CDC recommendations and being aware of the rules and regulations in your local area.
- Practicing physical distancing. This means avoiding crowded public places and large gatherings where close contact with others may occur. It’s recommended you aim for a physical distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
- Staying home when experiencing symptoms and testing when symptoms occur.
How do I know the status of COVID-19 infection in my community?
Click here for the latest updates on COVID-19, including a state-by-state map from Johns Hopkins that shows reported cases and community transmission to date by county level.
Are my kids at risk for coronavirus? What symptoms should I look for?
Yes. Children account for a significant number of all cases in the U.S. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective now approved for patients 6 months and older, making it your child’s strongest defense against serious illness.
In rare cases, some children are experiencing a systemic inflammatory condition similar to Kawasaki disease with fever, eye redness and an unusual rash on the body (including the extremities). Currently being referred to as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), this can occur without the usual respiratory symptoms and in children who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. If your child is experiencing any of the above, start a visit with us or contact your pediatrician to see if testing for COVID-19 or an in-person evaluation is appropriate.
Symptoms and Precautions
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or loss of sense of taste and smell. These symptoms are usually mild, begin gradually and can appear 2–14 days after being exposed. Individuals of increasing age and those with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung conditions or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.
I am fully vaccinated but have symptoms. Should I get tested?
Breakthrough infections with COVID-19 can and do occur. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting tested if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
What precautions should I take if I’m sick?
It’s important to get the care you need in a way that prevents the disease from spreading to others. Take advantage of virtual care or contact your healthcare provider (call before visiting). A physician will discuss your symptoms and your risk for COVID-19 and help you decide whether you need testing. It may be recommended you self-isolate in your home for a period of time.
If you live with family or roommates, this entails:
- Staying in a separate room and using a different bathroom, if possible.
- Avoiding the sharing of personal household items, including drinkware and towels.
- Wearing a mask if you do need to be in the same room for even a brief amount of time.
- Everyone in the household should be vigilant about hygiene, from covering coughs and sneezes to thoroughly washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily.
I had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. How long should I quarantine?
p>The CDC has revised the recommended times for quarantine. People who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated or are more than 6 months out from their second mRNA dose or 2 months out from their J&J vaccine and have not yet boosted should quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. For all those exposed, best practice should include a test at day 5 post-exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately isolate until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
When to Seek Care
I’m experiencing mild symptoms; what should I do?
Unless you are in a high-risk group (older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions) for developing complications, the best thing you can do is self-isolate and monitor your symptoms carefully.
- Get rest and stay hydrated, both of which help support your immune system.
- Use the same over-the-counter medications you would to treat the symptoms of a cold, such as acetaminophen for fever and aches and cough/cold medicine.
- For questions or peace of mind, take advantage of virtual care, as needed.
How do I know if I need emergency care?
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. If possible, call your healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them your COVID-19 status. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or difficulty waking up
- Bluish lips or face
- Severe and constant dizziness or lightheadedness
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What is the CDC’s current recommendation around getting a COVID-19 test if I’ve been exposed?
Recommendations for the most recent testing guidelines can be found here.
Can your doctors order testing?
Our physicians can provide orders for viral and antigen tests; though most testing locations do not require them. If you are seeking a PCR test or wish to have a rapid antigen test administered, you can search for testing sites in your local area here.
Can your doctors help me understand the test results I received?
Yes. We are available 24/7 to answer questions about your diagnostic or antibody test results, and offer guidance around next steps.
Please note that our physicians are unable to provide travel clearance documentation related to your COVID-19 status.
When is the best time after COVID-19 exposure to get a test?
It is important to understand that the timing of when a person is tested has an impact on the test results. It can take several days after someone is exposed to the virus for there to be enough virus to be detected. For example, being tested on the day of your exposure or the next day will likely result in a negative (not infected) test result, even in individuals who may later go on to develop infection.
COVID-19 tests are mostly likely to detect an infection three (3) to seven (7) days after exposure. COVID-19 PCR tests, which test for virus DNA, are still considered the gold standard, but antigen tests, which test for viral proteins, are increasingly used for testing symptomatic patients and for screening asymptomatic patients. For those who develop symptoms, the CDC recommends getting tested no later than 7 days after symptom onset or exposure to the virus. A 98point6 physician or your healthcare provider can help you determine the best time to be tested. Whenever you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 exposure, symptoms or testing, a physician is your best source of information, guidance and reassurance.
Medications and Treatment
Should I take any medication before or after the COVID-19 vaccine?
BEFORE: It is not recommended you premedicate before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects, because it is not known how these medications may impact the vaccine’s effectiveness.
AFTER: If you have no other medical reasons to prevent you from taking them, over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines or acetaminophen, can help any pain or discomfort you may have after receiving your vaccination. If you are unsure, our physicians can help guide your specific situation.
Can 98point6 physicians prescribe any specific treatments or prescriptions for COVID-19?
There are oral antiviral medications that can be prescribed by our physicians. However these treatments are not for everyone and are only indicated in those individuals considered high-risk. These medications are also not widely available in all areas. Our physicians can determine whether antivirals may be right for you or if you qualify for this treatment. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 5 days, start a visit with 98point6 and discuss your symptoms. Our doctors will be able to help you determine if and how you can get treatment.