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Cedars-Sinai Blog

COVID-19 Update for Patients

A COVID-19 vaccine at Cedars-Sinai

Cases Going Up in L.A. County 

Cases of COVID-19 have been going up across the nation, including in L.A. County. The increase is due in part to a new, very contagious version of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While the county is not seeing a major increase in hospitalizations or deaths, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health encourages residents to use caution to avoid getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 and transmitting it to others. Remember, there are many easy steps you can take to protect yourself and others, such as:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Staying home if you have symptoms
  • Using good judgment when socializing, especially indoors

Your best protection against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and boosted at the appropriate intervals. We strongly recommend everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine or a booster dose not to delay. Stay up to date on L.A County's COVID-19 page here. 

FDA Places Limits on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is placing limits on when the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine can be administered. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine should now only be given to people who:

  • Aren't able to access the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines
  • Can't get the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for medical reasons
  • Are only willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they can get the Johnson & Johnson shot

Read more about the FDA's decision in its statement here. The new guideline applies to primary shots as well as booster shots.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under 5

We know that many families have been waiting for news about a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 years old. So far, none of the shots in the U.S. are available for this age group. 

We are hopeful the FDA will authorize at least one of the mRNA vaccines for this age group in June. Once they do, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities also will need to weigh in. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be ready to start administering COVID-19 vaccines to our youngest patients as soon as we're able. We look forward to serving you and your family. 

Masks Still Required in Healthcare Settings, Encouraged Elsewhere

While people are no longer required to wear masks in most settings, there are a few major exceptions. In California, everyone must keep wearing a mask in healthcare settings, which includes all Cedars-Sinai locations. L.A. County also requires masks on all forms of public transportation, which includes buses, taxis, ride shares and trains, as well as airports. You're also encouraged to keep wearing masks in certain other locations to help protect both yourself and others. Check out the county's updated list (PDF) of where masks are required or strongly encouraged, and keep using common sense to reduce risk to yourself and others.

Cedars-Sinai Visitor Policy

Cedars-Sinai's visitor policy lets you see your loved ones while making sure we keep everybody safe during the ongoing pandemic. If you're planning to visit a friend or family member at Cedars-Sinai, be sure to view our current Visitor Policy for important updates before you arrive.

Cedars-Sinai is here for you, and we are committed to your health and safety.

Past updates

Second Booster Doses

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized second booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for adults age 50 and older, as well as additional Pfizer-BioNTech booster doses for certain immuno-compromised individuals age 12 and older. Additionally, second booster doses have been authorized for adults ages 18 to 49 who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for both their primary series and initial booster dose.

Unlike the first booster, this additional booster is an option, not a formal recommendation. If you are eligible and want to receive a second booster, you may do so as soon as four months after receiving the first booster dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible but you aren't sure if you should receive a second booster, please consult your personal physician.

Second Pfizer booster doses are now available at the Thalians Drive-Through Vaccination Clinic on our main campus. Appointments can be scheduled through My CS-Link or by calling us at 855-427-5465. You may also get your second booster through the L.A. County Department of Public Health, if it's more convenient for you. 

Hospital Visitation Policies

Our visitation policies continue to be guided by two priorities: enabling loved ones to be with patients and minimizing everyone's exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. 

In most cases, our current policies allow for two visitors per patient during visiting hours, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Overnight visitation is at the discretion of nursing leadership. If you plan on visiting a loved one, please be sure to review the most up-to-date visitor policies on our website.

Please note that our outpatient visiting policy has not changed, and more details can be found here.

SARS-CoV-2 Subvariants 

There have been a lot of reports in the news recently about new subvariants of the virus that causes COVID-19 and their potential transmissibility. As always, the course of this virus is difficult to predict with certainty. That's why we continue to stand by the science. The most effective way to safeguard your health is to maintain the good habits you established during the pandemic: stay up to date on vaccination, practice hand hygiene and, if you are feeling ill, stay home. 

Please also remember: While masks are currently not required in most settings in L.A. County, healthcare settings are the exception. Masking is still required at all times on any Cedars-Sinai property.

Your time and attention are always appreciated, and we will continue to update you whenever new information is available.

Vaccine protects ages 5-11 from severe illness

You may have read recent news suggesting that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot doesn't strongly protect kids ages 5-11 from infection. Research from New York, which has not been peer-reviewed, found that the vaccine’s effectiveness was low for this age group during the Omicron surge. However, the key takeaway from the study was that the vaccine is highly protective against severe illness and hospitalization in this age group. Kids who get vaccinated have a significantly lower risk of ending up seriously sick with COVID-19, even if they do get infected. The vaccine is the best way to keep kids and families safe. We continue to strongly encourage that everyone who is eligible receive a COVID-19 vaccine, in accordance with guidance from the CDC and other public health authorities. The Pfizer-BioNTech shot is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for kids younger than 12.

Mask guidance update

Recently, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations—including local business, school and workplace guidance.

CDPH's decision to end masking requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated has been heralded as a vital step in encouraging vaccinations among the hesitant and helping bring our nation closer to normalcy.

However, the new guidelines do NOT change practices in healthcare settings or in crowded, public transportation areas, such as when traveling by airplanes, buses or trains.

Additionally, even in non-healthcare contexts, Los Angeles County is choosing to delay implementing the new CDPH guidance, lifting outdoor masking mandates but keeping indoor masking requirements until further notice. Even when Los Angeles County decides to lift its indoor masking requirement, this is not expected to apply to healthcare settings until a future date.

Safety policies remain unchanged at Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai continues to follow federal, state and county guidelines. Therefore, at this time, our pandemic safety policies remain unchanged: All patients and visitors must continue to wear masks, physically distance and practice regular hand hygiene, regardless of vaccination status.

Cedars-Sinai provides care to very vulnerable patients—some of whom have not been vaccinated. These patients would be at high risk if they contracted the coronavirus, and extra precautions are necessary to protect them.

Our patients, families, staff and visitors must properly wear a hospital-issued surgical mask or their own mask, provided it is well-fitted, not cloth, does not have external vents, and is not damaged or visibly soiled.

New booster guidance for immuno-compromised patients

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 booster shot guidance for people with weakened immune systems. The changes depend on which vaccine individuals received for their primary series, and we are working to update the scheduling process to accommodate the new guidance.

For recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines: The agency now recommends that immuno-compromised patients get a booster three months after completing their primary mRNA series. The previous recommendation was to wait five months. As a reminder, for people who are immuno-compromised, a primary series of an mRNA vaccine is defined as three shots of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The booster is therefore a fourth shot. 

For recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: The CDC now recommends that immuno-compromised patients who got the Johnson & Johnson shot obtain a second shot 28 days later with an mRNA vaccine, followed by a booster at least two months after the second shot. The previous recommendation was to follow the initial shot with a single booster two months later. The new advice means you would get a total of three doses. The agency also notes that it's best to choose an mRNA vaccine for your booster.

Please refer to this page for more info and to schedule an appointment.

We want to wish you the very best in 2022 and share some key information for the new year.

Stop the Spread

L.A. County is reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. The Omicron variant is spreading quickly:

  • Please follow the CDC's recommendations for staying safe. 
  • If you are eligible, we urge you to get a booster shot. Initial data indicates that it considerably increases your protection against Omicron and other variants.

Testing for COVID-19 

At present, we are only testing people who have COVID-19 symptoms, and we require an appointment. If you don't have symptoms but have been exposed or are planning to travel or attend social gatherings, testing is available throughout Los Angeles County. You can find a location here, or do an internet search to locate a local pharmacy or other facility that offers testing.

Boosters

Your best protection is to get vaccinated and get your booster shot at the appropriate interval. We are strongly recommending everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine, a booster dose or a third dose to not wait.

Government agencies made several announcements this week about COVID-19 booster shots. Some boosters are now authorized for people 12 years of age and older. Here is the appropriate timing for your booster:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech, individuals 12 through 17: Five months after your second dose, eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer
  • Pfizer, individuals 18 and older: Five months after your second dose, eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna, individuals 18 and older: Five months after your second dose, eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson
  • Johnson & Johnson, individuals 18 and older: Two months after your first dose, eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson

Children ages 5-11 who have undergone solid organ transplantation or are immuno-compromised are now also eligible to receive a third primary series dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

If you or your loved ones are eligible for an initial vaccine series, a booster dose or a third dose, and wish to get it at Cedars-Sinai, you may schedule an appointment through My CS-Link (if you have an account) or by calling us at 855-427-5465.

Additionally, booster doses, third doses and initial vaccine series are also available at multiple locations across Los Angeles. If you are eligible, we encourage you to visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website to choose a date and location most convenient for you. 

COVID-19 Treatments

We are administering monoclonal antibody treatments as supply allows, but only the highest-risk patients (e.g., immuno-compromised patients, older patients with chronic conditions) are currently eligible. Our ability to administer these treatments to any of our patients, including high-risk patients, is based on supply and infusion capacity—both of which are extremely limited.

We continue to await guidance from county and state health officials regarding antiviral pills. We expect initial shipments will be extremely limited and will go to patients who are severely ill.

Surgical and Outpatient Procedures 

We are here 24/7 for emergency procedures, and extensive infection safety protocols remain in place.

To help keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, however, we are not currently booking any non-medically essential surgeries and procedures, including gastrointestinal labs or interventional radiology procedures. We also are cancelling procedures that can be done safely at a later date. We apologize sincerely for any difficulty this may cause you and hope to reopen our scheduling calendar as soon as safely possible.

Visitor Policies

For everyone's safety, we are limiting visitors to our facilities. Due to the rapidly evolving situation, our visitor policies could continue to change in the days and weeks ahead. Unvaccinated visitors to inpatient settings must provide either an antigen (rapid) test within 24 hours of a visit or a PCR test within 48 hours of a visit. Home tests are not accepted.

Be sure to review our visitor policies before you plan to visit a loved one in the hospital or accompany them to an outpatient appointment. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience these measures create for you or your family, and we appreciate your understanding.

Know Before You Go

To ensure we are here for those who need us most, we're also asking for your patience when visiting your doctor or one of our urgent care locations. We will continue to deliver the outstanding, personalized care for which we are known, but it may take a bit longer right now if your situation isn't urgent. The rapid spread of Omicron means we are facing a shortage of staff in our physician offices and urgent care locations, and while all our locations are open, you may need to wait longer than usual to be seen. Despite these challenges, we are continuing to safely manage our patients' needs.

As always, our staff is focused on your health and safety, and we are especially grateful for your understanding as we prioritize care for the individuals who need us most. We will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.

We want to wish you the very best in 2022 and share some key information for the new year. 

Stop the Spread

L.A. County is reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. The Omicron variant is spreading quickly:

  • Please follow the CDC's recommendations for staying safe. 
  • If you are eligible, we urge you to get a booster shot. Initial data indicates that it considerably increases your protection against Omicron and other variants.

Testing for COVID-19 

At present, we are only testing people who have COVID-19 symptoms, and we require an appointment. If you don't have symptoms but have been exposed or are planning to travel or attend social gatherings, testing is available throughout Los Angeles County. You can find a location here, or do an internet search to locate a local pharmacy or other facility that offers testing. 

Boosters

Your best protection is to get vaccinated and get your booster shot at the appropriate interval. We are strongly recommending everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine, a booster dose or a third dose to not wait.  

Government agencies made several announcements this week about COVID-19 booster shots. Boosters are now authorized for people 12 years of age and older. Here is the appropriate timing for your booster:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: Five months after your second dose
  • Moderna: Six months after your second dose

Children ages 5-11 who have undergone solid organ transplantation or are immuno-compromised are now also eligible to receive a third primary series dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

If you or your loved ones are eligible for an initial vaccine series, a booster dose or a third dose, and wish to get it at Cedars-Sinai, you may schedule an appointment through My CS-Link (if you have an account) or by calling us at 855-427-5465.

Additionally, booster doses, third doses and initial vaccine series are also available at multiple locations across Los Angeles. If you are eligible, we encourage you to visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website to choose a date and location most convenient for you. 

COVID-19 Treatments

We are administering monoclonal antibody treatments as supply allows, but only the highest-risk patients (e.g., immuno-compromised patients, older patients with chronic conditions) are currently eligible. Our ability to administer these treatments to any of our patients, including high-risk patients, is based on supply and infusion capacity—both of which are extremely limited.

We continue to await guidance from county and state health officials regarding antiviral pills. We expect initial shipments will be extremely limited and will go to patients who are severely ill. 

Surgical and Outpatient Procedures 

If you already have scheduled a surgical, gastrointestinal lab or interventional radiology procedure with us, it will not be canceled. We also are here 24/7 for emergency procedures, and extensive infection safety protocols remain in place. 

To help keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, however, we are not currently booking any non-medically essential surgeries and procedures, including gastrointestinal labs or interventional radiology procedures. We apologize sincerely for any difficulty this may cause you and hope to reopen our scheduling calendar as soon as safely possible. 

Visitor Policies

For everyone's safety, we are limiting visitors to our facilities. Due to the rapidly evolving situation, our visitor policies could continue to change in the days and weeks ahead. Be sure to review our visitor policies before you plan to visit a loved one in the hospital or accompany them to an outpatient appointment. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience these measures create for you or your family, and we appreciate your understanding. 

Know Before You Go

To ensure we are here for those who need us most, we're also asking for your patience when visiting your doctor or one of our urgent care locations. We will continue to deliver the outstanding, personalized care for which we are known, but it may take a bit longer right now if your situation isn't urgent. The rapid spread of Omicron means we are facing a shortage of staff in our physician offices and urgent care locations, and while all our locations are open, you may need to wait longer than usual to be seen. Despite these challenges, we are continuing to safely manage our patients' needs.

As always, our staff is focused on your health and safety, and we are especially grateful for your understanding as we prioritize care for the individuals who need us most. We will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.

As this unique and challenging year draws to a close, Cedars-Sinai is honored to have spent 2021 serving the community and navigating the year's ups and downs with your support and understanding.

We know many of you were hoping for a virus-free holiday, and that the rise of the highly contagious Omicron variant put a damper on your plans. L.A. County is reporting record case numbers, and while Omicron seems to result in milder symptoms than previous variants, it is spreading so quickly that it could still strain our resources. We encourage you to read our Safety Tips for the Holidays blog to help keep yourself and loved ones safe this New Year's weekend.

To ensure we are here for those who need us most, we're also asking for your patience when visiting your doctor or one of our urgent care locations. We will continue to deliver the outstanding, personalized care for which we are known. But it may take a bit longer right now if your situation isn't urgent. The rapid spread of Omicron means we are facing a shortage of staff in our physician offices and urgent care locations, and while all our locations are open, you may need to wait longer than usual to be seen. We know this is inconvenient and may cause unease, but we make every decision with your wellbeing in mind.

We've also tightened our visitor policies, so please review them if you're planning to visit a loved one in the hospital or accompany someone to an outpatient appointment. Our COVID-19 FAQ page is a great resource for additional information.

We will continue to keep you updated as things evolve. In the meantime, we wish you a safe and peaceful New Year's Eve, and a healthy start to 2022!

Omicron Variant Update and Safety Tips for the Holidays

As the Omicron variant continues to make headlines, we know you have questions, especially as you prepare for holiday gatherings in the coming days and weeks. Here is what we know today.

How serious is the Omicron variant? 
We don't have definitive answers yet. Our clinicians and scientists are monitoring the variant to gain a fuller understanding of its transmissibility and severity.  

Do we expect a dramatic surge in hospitalizations at Cedars-Sinai
The course of the Omicron variant is difficult to predict. So far, the increase in hospitalizations has been gradual. As always, Cedars-Sinai is fully prepared for all potential scenarios.

Are elective procedures or surgeries being canceled? 
At present, no procedures or surgeries are being canceled. We are fully operational to address your care and remain open for our entire community. 

What if I experience symptoms? 
If you develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19—including cold or flu-like symptoms—please follow these steps:

  • Start by avoiding contact with others.
  • Contact your primary care physician and describe your situation. If appropriate, your physician will place an order for you to get a COVID-19 test at the Cedars-Sinai Drive-Through Testing Clinic. You will receive instructions at the time.
  • Whether you are a new or existing patient, you can also schedule a virtual appointment with one of our healthcare experts using Video Visit Now
  • If you don't have a doctor, additional testing information can be found on our COVID-19 FAQ page under "COVID-19 Testing in Urgent Care."

How else can I get tested? 
If you fall under these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for testing, you can contact your physician or call one of our urgent care locations to schedule a COVID-19 test. If you do not fall under these guidelines, refer to these Los Angeles County resources for testing, which is widely available throughout the county—whether or not you have symptoms or have been exposed. Many pharmacies also offer testing, as well as other care facilities. 

What should I do if I test positive?
If you test positive, you should isolate for 10 days per the CDC guidelines. For more information regarding how to calculate the 10-day schedule, or how to isolate, visit the CDC website.

What if I have been exposed to somebody who has COVID-19?
Exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more. 

  • If you were exposed but are fully vaccinated and don't have any symptoms, get tested 5-7 days after the exposure. Wear a mask around other people for 14 days or until your test comes back negative, whichever comes first.
  • If you were exposed and are not fully vaccinated, you'll need to quarantine for 14 days—even if you don't have any symptoms. That means staying home, minimizing contact with people in your own household and monitoring yourself for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • As a reminder, fully vaccinated means at least 14 days have passed since you got the second dose of a two-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or the first and only dose of a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson).
  • If you have any symptoms, whether you're vaccinated or not, follow the steps above, under "What if I experience symptoms?"

What is the best protection against the Omicron variant?
Your best protection is to get vaccinated and get your booster shot at the appropriate interval. You can consult the chart on this page (be sure to scroll down the page) to learn more about vaccine eligibility. Here are three ways to schedule an appointment:

  • Visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website and follow instructions. Select Cedars-Sinai as the preferred vaccination site.
  • If you have a My CS-Link account, go to "Visits" on the top menu, click "Schedule an Appointment" and then click "COVID-19 Vaccine Dose 1."
  • Call the My CS-Link helpline at 1-855-427-5465 and ask to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

What else can I do to stay safe?
Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated and get their boosters.

Keep following pandemic protocols, including California's reinstated mandate for masking indoors at all times: covid19.ca.gov/masks-and-ppe/

Be careful and gather safely during the holidays: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/celebrations.html

If you would like to learn more about the Omicron variant, here is an overview from the California Department of Public Health.

We will continue to update this page as we learn more. In the meantime, one constant never changes: Your health and wellbeing are our highest priorities, and Cedars-Sinai remains fully prepared to respond swiftly and effectively to any challenges the pandemic may present. We're here for you.  

We wish you a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

On December 9, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots in youths who are 16 and 17 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed up by strongly encouraging these teens to obtain the booster doses, which should be administered at least six months after completing the initial two-dose series.

In November, the CDC approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. The CDC determined that the vaccine is effective at protecting school-age children from serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19, which is similar to the benefits for adults.

The vaccine is given in a two-shot series, 21 days apart. The doses are lower than doses given to those who are 12 and older.

If your child is eligible, we strongly encourage you to get them vaccinated or get a booster shot if they are at least 16 years old and received their initial two-dose series more than six months ago. If you would like to make an appointment at Cedars-Sinai, please visit My CS-Link or call us at 855-427-5465.

Alternatively, appointments are also available at multiple locations across Los Angeles. You can choose a convenient date and location by visiting the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website.

As a reminder, your pediatrician's office does not schedule vaccine appointments so please do not call them to make an appointment for your child. Please use My CS-Link or call 855-427-5465 to schedule. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your child's pediatrician. You can also find more information in the FDA's vaccine information fact sheet or on the CDC website.

We will continue to update you as guidelines evolve and we invite you to regularly visit this page, as well as our COVID-19 frequently asked questions page, for more information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidelines for booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC also approved that those eligible to get a booster dose may get any one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of which one they received initially.

Please refer to the chart on this page to see if you are eligible for the initial vaccine series, a booster dose or a third dose, and to understand the recommended timing of doses. As a reminder, a booster dose is for healthy patients, to enhance immunity and protect against new strains of the virus. A third dose for immuno-compromised patients protects those who haven't had a full response to the first two doses of the vaccine.

If you or your loved ones are eligible for an initial vaccine series, a booster dose or a third dose, and wish to get it at Cedars-Sinai, you may schedule an appointment through My CS-Link (if you have an account) or by calling us at 855-427-5465.

Additionally, booster doses, third doses and initial vaccine series are also available at multiple locations across Los Angeles. If you are eligible, we encourage you to visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website to choose a date and location most convenient for you. 

Currently, federal agencies are working to approve the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. When that happens, we will contact each family who has a child in our care.

Please remember that whether you are eligible for a booster shot or not, being fully vaccinated provides you with excellent protection against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, make an appointment to do so now.  

We will continue to update you as guidelines evolve and we invite you to visit this page regularly for more information. 

With COVID-19 booster shots in the news lately, there can be a lot of information to absorb about vaccines. Here's what you need to know:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed COVID-19 booster shots for certain groups who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago:

  • People 65 years or older and residents of long-term care facilities
  • People 50 to 64 years old who have underlying medical conditions
  • People 18 to 49 years old with underlying medical conditions who assess their individual risk and choose to get a booster 
  • People 18 to 64 who are exposed to the virus due to their jobs (e.g., healthcare workers, emergency responders, teachers, etc.)

Making an appointment

If you or your loved ones are eligible for a booster dose and wish to get it at Cedars-Sinai, appointments will be available beginning Monday, Sept. 27, and may be scheduled through My CS-Link or by calling 855-427-5465.

Booster doses are also available at multiple locations across Los Angeles. If you are eligible, we encourage you to visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website to choose a date and location most convenient for you. 

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines

At present, only individuals who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and are in one of the groups above are eligible for a booster dose. We will keep you updated if new information becomes available regarding possible booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Protection against serious illness and hospitalization

As a reminder: Whether you are eligible for a booster shot or not, everyone who has been fully vaccinated continues to have excellent protection against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.

Thank you for your continued patience and support. We will keep you informed as the process for boosters progresses. We also hope you will visit cedars-sinai.org regularly for updates.

With COVID-19 booster shots in the news lately, there can be a lot of information to absorb about vaccines. Here's what you need to know:

For individuals who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, an advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified a few categories of people who it recommends should get a booster shot six months after their second dose. The groups are:

  • People 65 years or older
  • Individuals at high risk of severe illness (potentially including healthcare workers, emergency responders and others whose jobs expose them to the virus)

At present, the FDA has not recommended booster doses for the broader population.

Approval process

This news does not mean booster doses have been approved to be administered now. The next step is for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review these recommendations. Cedars-Sinai is preparing for the likelihood of boosters, but we will not be giving booster shots until the full approval process is complete. Please do not call your doctor's office requesting a booster shot now.

If you received another brand of COVID-19 vaccine, such as Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, we must wait for a separate review of data for potential boosters for those vaccines before we can provide further guidance. We do not yet have a timeline on this.

Third dose for immuno-compromised patients

Meanwhile, separate from booster shots, we are still administering third shots for our immuno-compromised patients.

No matter what group you are in, if you are fully vaccinated, you continue to have excellent protection against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.

We always sincerely appreciate your patience, and we will keep you informed as the process for boosters progresses. We also hope you will visit cedars-sinai.org regularly for updates.

As schools are reopening this week, California enters a new phase with the Delta variant. In Los Angeles County, the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations is slowing compared to what we saw in late July. Still, we urge you to remain vigilant. Even if you have been vaccinated, keep yourself and those around you safe. Although rare, it is still possible for you to carry and transmit the virus. Here's what you need to know this week:

Booster Doses for Patients With Healthy Immune Systems

We continue to follow federal, state and local guidelines for vaccinating individuals. We are awaiting further instruction on the recent news that a booster for those with healthy immune systems will soon be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We look forward to providing booster shots to you when they are approved and available, and we will update you as soon as we can.

Please note: The third dose recently approved for immuno-compromised patients is meant to protect specific patients who haven't had a full response to the first two doses of the vaccine. The booster dose for healthy patients is meant to enhance immunity and protect against new strains of the virus.

Third mRNA Vaccine Dose for Immuno-compromised Patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA have recently recommended a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines for immuno-compromised patients. We are pleased to share that we will soon begin offering third doses for such immune-compromised patients.

Patients who qualify for the third dose include those who have:

  • Been receiving cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Been diagnosed with moderate or severe immunodeficiency conditions (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • An advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Been under active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response

If you're not sure whether you qualify for a third dose, talk with your physician or healthcare provider about your condition.

If you are immuno-compromised and plan to receive a third dose, it is important to first contact your healthcare provider to discuss your ongoing treatment and the most appropriate time for a third injection. After you have discussed timing with your healthcare provider, you can make an appointment for a third dose beginning Thursday, Aug. 19, by visiting My CS-Link or the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website. 

Guidelines for Visitors

We are following the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines and updated our policy to require all hospital visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That means when someone wants to visit a patient, at least two weeks must have passed since they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. As proof, each visitor must present one of the following:

  • A COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card issued by the CDC (or a World Health Organization Yellow Card)
  • A photograph of a Vaccination Record Card (the photo can be on a smartphone or other device)
  • Documentation from a healthcare provider
  • A digital record with a QR code that can be scanned to display the person’s name, date of birth, and vaccine date and type

Additionally, to align with state guidelines more closely, beginning Monday, Aug. 23, we will also accept proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for visitation.

Details about our visitor policy are available here, and COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be scheduled by visiting the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website or calling 1-855-427-5465.

Keeping Our Staff Safe

Throughout the pandemic, our employees' courage and commitment to caring for our patients has been an inspiration. To keep everyone safe, we began vaccinating our staff and volunteers last December when the first COVID-19 vaccines became available. By the end of September, all of our employees will be fully vaccinated (occasional exceptions have been made for staff who cannot be vaccinated for religious or medical reasons)

Highly contagious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are on the rise in Los Angeles County. The new variants tend to spread faster, especially among unvaccinated individuals.

Please stay vigilant. Los Angeles County is again requiring everyone to wear a mask when you are indoors in any public setting, regardless of your vaccination status. This has always been and continues to be the case at all Cedars-Sinai locations. 

If you have not been vaccinated, we urge you to get vaccinated immediately. The risks of COVID-19 far outweigh the potential short-term side effects of the vaccines. Here are three ways you can schedule your appointment:

  • Visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website and follow instructions. Select Cedars-Sinai as the preferred vaccination site.
  • If you have a My CS-Link account, go to "Visits" on the top menu, click "Schedule an Appointment" and then click "COVID-19 Vaccine Dose 1."
  • Call the My CS-Link helpline at 1-855-427-5465 and ask to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Along with following the mask mandate, please continue to maintain physical distancing when you are in public and wash your hands regularly. Again, these pandemic protocols have always been and continue to be enforced at all Cedars-Sinai locations. 

Even if you have been vaccinated, keep yourself and those around you safe. Although rare, it is still possible for you to carry and transmit the virus.

Should you need medical care, please follow these guidelines.

  • If you or someone in your family has a non-emergency event (such as a low-grade fever, cough, chest congestion and mild fatigue) contact your Cedars-Sinai primary care physician.
  • If you need immediate help for an illness or injury that isn’t life-threatening but aren’t experiencing a medical emergency, you can visit one of our urgent care centers.
  • If you cannot get to your doctor's office or clinic, you can request a video visit with a Cedar-Sinai healthcare provider through your My CS-Link account. You can read more here.
  • Our Emergency Department is always available for medical emergencies. To ensure that we can care for those who need immediate care, please do not use the Emergency Department if your needs are not truly an emergency.

If you are about to travel, or thinking about traveling, L.A. County has some common-sense guidelines to keep you and the people around you safe. You can read the guidelines here.  

L.A. County health officials are now recommending everyone—regardless of vaccination status—resume masking when indoors in a public setting. Please comply with the County's guidance. Vaccination is still the most important tool in preventing new outbreaks of COVID-19. If you are eligible for vaccination but have not gotten your shots, please do so without delay. Here's what you need to know this week:

Vaccine Boosters Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other health agencies, are still studying information on COVID-19 vaccines. At this time, there is not yet enough data to recommend booster doses. We expect to hear more about recommendations this fall, and we will share that information with you when it is available. Until then, please do not call your doctor's office requesting a booster. 

Delta Variant Update

Health officials are still gathering data on this new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. Here is what we know so far:

Although the Delta variant appears to spread in the same ways as other variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, it may spread faster.

As of June 12, the Delta variant made up nearly half of all variants in L.A. County and is responsible for one in every five new infections across the country.

Of those in L.A. County who contracted the Delta variant, 89% had not been vaccinated. 

There is no scientific consensus on whether the Delta variant is more dangerous than earlier strains, but the possibility that it may spread faster puts unvaccinated people at particular risk.



Get Vaccinated

Nearly 70% of L.A. County residents age 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you haven't joined them, it's never been easier:

  • Log in to My CS-Link. Go to "Visits" on the top menu, click "Schedule an Appointment" and then click "COVID-19 Vaccine Dose 1."
  • Visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website and follow instructions. Select Cedars-Sinai as the preferred vaccination site.
  • Call 1-855-427-5465 and ask to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Los Angeles is celebrating as California reopens thanks to an encouraging reduction in COVID-19 cases across the state. Nearly 70% of L.A. County residents 16 and older have received at least one dose. If you haven't joined them, it's never been easier. Even as pandemic restrictions are lifted, it's more important than ever to ensure that you and your family are protected.

Here's what you need to know this week.

CALIFORNIA'S REOPENING: WHAT IT MEANS FOR CEDARS-SINAI  

Most physical distancing guidelines have been lifted, and restaurants, bars and other businesses are open. Public events have resumed, subject to certain guidelines, and masking requirements have been modified. 



Please be mindful that these changes do not apply in healthcare settings. In keeping with CDC, state and county guidelines, safety protocols are still in place for staff, patients and visitors at all Cedars-Sinai facilities—including in our hospitals, outpatient care centers and physician offices. Safety protocols include physical distancing and masking requirements for all individuals, even if you are vaccinated.

Until the CDC and state and local health officials issue new directives, Cedars-Sinai's safety protocols will continue to be significantly more rigorous than the guidelines for the general public in non-healthcare settings. 

Our COVID-19 protocols remain in place because your wellbeing comes first: In every circumstance, your safety is the overriding priority at any Cedars-Sinai facility. Please also remember that Los Angeles is a global hub in the midst of what continues to be a global pandemic affecting regions of the world differently.

COVID-19 VACCINE CLINIC MOVED TO NEW LOCATION

Our Beverly Center vaccine clinic has moved to Thalians Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Beginning on Monday, June 14, all individuals 12 and older wishing to be vaccinated can do so at that location instead of the Beverly Center clinic. You will still receive your vaccination in your car to ensure efficiency as well as safety. 

If you got your first vaccine dose on Thursday, May 27, or later, you will receive your second dose at the Thalians Health Center. To schedule, please visit My CS-Link or call 1-855-427-5465, seven days a week, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Thalians Health Center is at 8730 Alden Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Use Robertson Boulevard to access Alden Drive and please follow instructions. Note that the maximum vehicle height for the structure is 8 ft. 

Please note that individuals under the age of 18 are asked to bring a parent or guardian to their vaccination appointment. If a parent or guardian cannot be present, the minor must bring this signed consent form (PDF) with them. 

Eligible individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This vaccine is administered in two doses. Adults 18 and older will receive the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, depending on availability.

Half of L.A. County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you haven't joined them, it's never been easier. As California prepares to ease pandemic restrictions, it's more important than ever to ensure that you and your family are protected.

Here's what you need to know this week.

COVID-19 VACCINE CLINIC MOVING TO NEW LOCATION

Our Beverly Center vaccine clinic will soon be moving to Thalians Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Beginning on Monday, June 14, all individuals 12 and older wishing to be vaccinated can do so at that location instead of the Beverly Center clinic. You will still receive your vaccination in your car to ensure efficiency as well as safety. 

If you got your first vaccine dose on Thursday, May 27, or later, you will receive your second dose at the Thalians Health Center. To schedule, please visit My CS-Link™ or call 1-855-427-5465, seven days a week, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Thalians Health Center is at 8730 Alden Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Use Robertson Boulevard to access Alden Drive and please follow instructions. Note that the maximum vehicle height for the structure is 8 ft. 

Please note that individuals under the age of 18 are asked to bring a parent or guardian to their vaccination appointment. If a parent or guardian cannot be present, the minor must bring this signed consent form (PDF) with them.

Eligible individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This vaccine is administered in two doses. Adults 18 and older will receive the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, depending on availability.

Vaccine Eligibility Expansion

Effective May 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have expanded Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include individuals between the ages of 12 and 15. 

Here's what you need to know.

Cedars-Sinai will begin scheduling vaccination appointments for this age group on Thursday, May 13. 

Patients under the age of 18 are asked to bring a parent or guardian to their vaccination appointment. If a parent or guardian cannot be present, the minor must bring this signed consent form (PDF) with them. 

Eligible individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 will receive the Pfizer vaccine. This vaccine is administered in two doses.

Masking Still Required in Hospital

The CDC’s decision earlier this week to end masking requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated has been heralded as a vital step in encouraging vaccinations among the hesitant and helping bring our nation closer to normalcy. However, the new guidelines do NOT change practices in healthcare settings or in crowded, public transportation areas such as when traveling by airplanes, buses or trains. Cedars-Sinai continues to follow federal, state and county guidelines. Therefore, at this time, our pandemic safety policies remain unchanged: All patients and visitors must continue to mask, distance and practice regular hand hygiene regardless of vaccination status. We appreciate your cooperation and will keep you updated as things evolve.

Johnson & Johnson Update

As of April 30, Cedars-Sinai has resumed the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine following a decision by the FDA and CDC to lift their recommended pause after a thorough safety review.

Following their safety review, the FDA and CDC expressed confidence that the vaccine is safe and effective for preventing COVID-19 and recommended that U.S. healthcare providers resume its use.

We continue to encourage our patients and staff who are eligible for the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J vaccines to get vaccinated.

Appointments

There are three ways to schedule an appointment:

  • Log in to My CS-Link™. Go to "Visits" on the top menu, click "Schedule an Appointment" and then click "COVID-19 Vaccine Dose 1."
  • Visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website and follow instructions. Select Cedars-Sinai as your preferred vaccination site.
  • Call the My CS-Link support line at 855-427-5465 and ask to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

As always, the health and wellbeing of our patients is our highest priority. As new shipments of vaccine arrive, our staff ensures that appointments are immediately available to eligible patients and that vaccinations are administered without delay.

L.A. County continues to show much progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, with lower infection rates and broader vaccination efforts. As more sections of the economy are reopening in California, vaccination continues to be one of the most important tools against COVID-19 and the emergence of new strains of the coronavirus. 

Here's what you need to know this week.

VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS ARE AVAILABLE AT CEDARS-SINAI

Cedars-Sinai has a significant number of vaccination appointments available. If you or a loved one are 16 or older and wish to be vaccinated, use one of the following options to schedule an appointment with us, regardless of whether you are a current patient or not: 

  • Log in to your My CS-Link™ account.
    • Click on the "Visits" button in the top menu.
    • On the "Visits" screen, click on the "Schedule an Appointment" button.
    • Click on the "COVID-19 Vaccine Dose 1" button.
  • Visit the California Department of Public Health's My Turn website and follow the instructions. Be sure to select Cedars-Sinai as your preferred vaccination site. 
  • Call 1-855-427-5465 from Monday-Sunday from 7 am – 7 pm PT to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. For scheduling after 7 pm PT, please call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) and ask to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

If you don't already have a My CS-Link account, register at mycslink.org or download the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. If you need help registering, call 1-855-427-5465.

About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccination Interruption

The FDA and CDC on Tuesday recommended that healthcare providers across the U.S. pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six reported cases of a severe type of blood clot appeared in individuals who received the vaccine. As a result of this guidance, Cedars-Sinai has temporarily halted use of the J&J vaccine. 

The FDA and CDC note that adverse events related to the J&J vaccine appear to be extremely rare: Just the six reported events out of more than 6.8 million doses administered in the U.S.As of today, these rare adverse events noted by the FDA and CDC have not been reported with the J&J or Pfizer vaccines at Cedars-Sinai

Those who have received the J&J vaccine in the last three weeks should look for any symptoms of the specific blood clot reported by the FDA and CDC, including severe headaches, abdominal or leg pain, and shortness of breath. Those who develop these symptoms should contact their medical provider.

COVID-19 vaccine safety remains a top priority for Cedars-Sinai, and we take any reports of health concerns very seriously. We are continually monitoring the health of our patients and staff who receive COVID-19 vaccines though Cedars-Sinai and follow FDA and CDC guidance on vaccine administration. We continue to encourage our patients and staff who are eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to get vaccinated.

If you were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Cedars-Sinai: Your appointment will be rescheduled. You’ll receive an invitation to book a new appointment as soon as one becomes available.

You can learn more about new developments regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the CDC’s website. We will continue to update this page as we learn more from federal and local health agencies.

As always, stay safe and continue to follow county and state guidelines: Wear a mask (or two), wash your hands thoroughly and often, and keep your distance from others—whether vaccinated or not.

Vaccination is one of the most important tools against the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of new strains. As of March 31, 2021, Los Angeles County had administered over 4.6 million doses of the vaccines, and the rollout is expanding quickly to reach new populations. While Cedars-Sinai is still experiencing a shortage of doses, the state expects to have enough supplies to vaccinate most Californians by summer 2021. 

Here's what you need to know this week.

Vaccine eligibility expands

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in California expanded to all individuals 50 and older starting April 1. Eligibility will expand to include anyone 16 and older beginning April 15. We will reach out to our patients as soon as we receive further direction from public health officials.

Maintaining pandemic safety protocols

Please also note that although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, all Cedars-Sinai patients and visitors must continue to maintain pandemic safety protocols in healthcare settings, regardless of whether or not they have been fully vaccinated.

As always, stay safe and continue to follow county and state guidelines: Wear a mask (or two), wash your hands thoroughly and often, and keep your distance from others—whether vaccinated or not.

Vaccination is one of the most important tools against the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of new strains. 23% of all Californians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the rollout is expanding to reach new populations. While Cedars-Sinai is still experiencing a shortage of doses, the state expects to have enough supplies to vaccinate most Californians by summer 2021. 

Here's what you need to know this week.

State expands vaccination eligibility to individuals ages 16–64 with high-risk medical conditions 
Effective March 15, 2021, the state has expanded COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to include people ages 16–64 who have certain high-risk medical conditions or physical and behavioral disabilities. Resources for scheduling appointments include My Turn and Vaccine Finder. When you have scheduled your appointment, fill out this self-attestation form (PDF) and bring it with you to your appointment.

Scheduling appointments through My CS-Link
Cedars-Sinai continues to receive a limited supply of vaccine, but we are hopeful that new and more efficient methods of distribution in L.A. County will increase our capacity. Our patients who are invited to schedule through My CS-Link™ may do so as instructed, and those who are due to receive their second dose should keep their appointments as scheduled.

Maintaining pandemic safety protocols
Please also note that although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, all Cedars-Sinai patients and visitors must continue to maintain pandemic safety protocols in healthcare settings, regardless of whether or not they have been fully vaccinated.

As always, stay safe and continue to follow county and state guidelines: Wear a mask (or two), wash your hands thoroughly and often, and keep your distance from others—whether vaccinated or not.

As new cases of COVID-19 keep falling and California's vaccine rollout expands, the state is about to reach its goal of vaccinating 2 million individuals in disadvantaged areas, and nearly 11 million people in total. We are elated to reach this milestone on the same week we mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. There are many reasons to be optimistic, and Cedars-Sinai is proud to be part of the light at the end of the tunnel. Here's what you need to know this week.

Vaccinations continue for patients 65+

Los Angeles expanded eligibility for vaccinations to several new groups, including teachers and workers in education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency services. Vaccinations continue for residents 65 and older, healthcare workers, certain essential frontline workers, and residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities.

At Cedars-Sinai, we have reached out to our patients who are 65 and older and were treated at Cedars-Sinai anytime from January 2019 forward. When shipments of vaccine arrive, our teams remain committed to ensuring that new appointments are immediately available to those eligible patients and that vaccinations are administered without delay.

As always, we are encouraging eligible individuals to get vaccinated wherever they can; Los Angeles County's My Turn website has been a helpful resource for determining eligibility and scheduling appointments.

Vaccine rollout is picking up speed. California is accelerating vaccinations for education and childcare workers, dedicating 10% of vaccines to K-12 school staff and childcare workers starting March 1. As of March 3, 9.6 million doses have been administered in California. Here's what you need to know this week.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine granted emergency use authorization

Vaccine rollout is picking up speed. California is accelerating vaccinations for education and childcare workers, dedicating 10% of vaccines to K-12 school staff and childcare workers starting March 1. As of March 3, 9.6 million doses have been administered in California. Here's what you need to know this week.

L.A. Unified School District opens new vaccination site for staff

LAUSD announced the opening of a major COVID-19 vaccination site for its employees as part of the district’s plan for the safe reopening of schools. Cedars-Sinai is developing healthcare protocols for the site and training the nursing staff who will administer the vaccinations. (We are not providing vaccine doses to that site.)

Current CDC protocols continue to require two doses of vaccine

Although there were reports that the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine may potentially be sufficient in some cases, CDC guidelines have not changed and individuals should follow through with receiving their second dose (the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are a two-dose protocol). As with all aspects surrounding COVID-19 vaccination, we will alert our patients if there is any change in the dosage guidelines.

As always, your My CS-Link™ account is the fastest, most reliable way to receive up-to-date information about the vaccination process and will help to streamline appointments. Continue to check the COVID-19 section of our website (we update it frequently) and, if you haven't already, please take a moment to install the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play

While the recent emergence of new strains of the coronavirus and vaccine supply shortages are still a concern, there is more good news on the COVID-19 front this week: The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson's vaccine after studies showed the shot strongly protects against severe illness and may reduce the spread of the virus. Here's what you need to know this week.

Vaccine supplies remain severely limited

Again this week, the overall vaccine supply in Los Angeles County is extremely low. Although we do not control how many doses we are allocated, the systems we have in place at Cedars-Sinai ensure that when new shipments arrive, we immediately distribute the vaccine to our patients in a safe and equitable manner.

For Angelenos who want to know if they and their loved ones are eligible to receive the vaccine, the county has launched a new website called My Turn. When it is an individual's turn to get vaccinated, the site allows them to schedule a vaccination appointment at a county site.

CDC protocols unchanged: Two doses of vaccine are essential

There are reports that the first dose of the vaccine may potentially be sufficient, however this is still under review. At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines haven't changed, and we continue to administer two doses of the vaccine.

Individuals cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine

Some of our patients have asked if there is any risk of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine—the answer is no. Because the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not contain any live virus, they cannot cause COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine provides the cellular information the body needs to build antibodies that will fight the virus. You can read more in this brief overview.

As always, your My CS-Link™ account is the fastest, most reliable way to receive up-to-date information about the vaccination process and will help to streamline appointments. Continue to check the COVID-19 section of our website (we update it frequently) and, if you haven't already, please take a moment to install the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

While the recent emergence of new strains of the coronavirus and vaccine supply shortages are an ongoing concern, there is some good news on the COVID-19 front this week: New cases are down to pre-Thanksgiving levels across California, and our healthcare system is under less pressure than it was just two weeks ago. Here's what you need to know this week.

Vaccine shortage continues

Los Angeles County received no new doses last week, and we are still not accepting first-round appointments until new supplies arrive. While the shortage of vaccine is still severe, there is encouraging news on the horizon: Last week, the federal government purchased additional doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The administration is now projecting a significant increase in the rate of vaccinations. Cedars-Sinai teams are in place to resume real-time distribution as soon as new vaccine arrives.

California expands vaccine eligibility to individuals 16 to 64 with certain medical conditions

As you may know, California has announced that starting next month people aged 16 to 64 with certain high-risk medical conditions will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Los Angeles County has not yet adopted the state guidelines, and neither L.A. County nor the state have decided what documentation will be required. We are in constant contact with the county and will notify our patients as soon as we have more information. As a helpful reminder, your health information is always available on your My CS-Link™ account.

Your health is always our first priority, and we do not want you to wait to be vaccinated any longer than necessary. If you can book a vaccine appointment at one of the county's vaccine sites, we encourage you to do so. You can find more information about the county's vaccination program here and schedule an appointment here

As always, your My CS-Link account is the fastest, most reliable way to receive up-to-date information about the vaccination process and will help to streamline appointments. Continue to check the COVID-19 section of our website (we update it frequently) and, if you haven't already, please take a moment to install the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play

As the U.S. enters its 12th month of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our patients and the community at large. While Angelenos continue to follow county and state guidelines and COVID-19 hospitalizations are gradually declining, new coronavirus strains are appearing. Here’s what you should know.

Understanding new strains

Patients are expressing concerns about new strains of the coronavirus. There is encouraging data: SARS-CoV-2 is not evolving as quickly as other viruses, and while some of the new strains may spread more easily, there is no peer-reviewed evidence to suggest that they are more dangerous than the original virus.

Current findings indicate that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective against many of the new strains. However, there is still more to be learned. For example, researchers in South Africa have found that one of the newer strains appears to be resistant to the AstraZeneca vaccine. In this blog post, Eric Vail, MD, and Michael Ben-Aderet, MD, discuss a unique strain of the virus, recently discovered by Cedars-Sinai researchers, which may be responsible for as much as one-third of new cases in Southern California.

Vaccine limited to second doses for high-risk patients 65 years and older this week

With the vaccine supply remaining extraordinarily tight throughout the county, we've been alerting our patients that no new appointments are currently being accepted. Visits are limited to those high-risk individuals 65 and older who already have an appointment with us to receive their second dose. 

Your health is always our first priority, and we do not want you to wait to be vaccinated any longer than necessary. If you can book a vaccine appointment at one of the county's vaccine sites, we encourage you to do so. You can find more information about the county's vaccination program here and schedule an appointment here

As always, your My CS-Link™ account is the fastest, most reliable way to receive up-to-date information about the vaccination process and will help to streamline appointments. Continue to check the COVID-19 section of our website (we update it frequently) and, if you haven't already, please take a moment to install the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Like other hospitals across Southern California, we continue to receive very limited doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As county officials work to create a more predictable model for vaccine shipments, our highest priority is to vaccinate our patients whose age and health status make them the most vulnerable to the virus. 

To guide this effort, we deployed a COVID-19 risk factor algorithm based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations—along with a social determinant vulnerability assessment. This algorithm eliminates bias and provides equitable deployment of the limited vaccine supply we have to those most in need. 

However, because we have insufficient vaccine supply, we have been required to randomize patient selection even within the highest risk groups. 

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR OUR PATIENTS:

  • Please do not come to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center without an appointment. This disrupts our processes, diverts resources and jeopardizes the safety and security of our caregivers and our patients.
  • Please do not email or call your doctor's office asking to be "placed on the list." Our physicians have no ability to influence our processes and are busy caring for other sick patients. 
  • For patients who do receive an invitation to set up an appointment: Failure to comply with our protocols or any forceful demands to vaccinate others who have not received an invitation could result in forfeiture of their place in line to receive the vaccine. 
  • We will continue this process until all of our patients 65 and older have been vaccinated, but this regrettably could take months depending on supply. 

Your health is always our first priority, and we do not want you to wait to be vaccinated any longer than necessary. If you can book a vaccine appointment at one of the county's vaccine sites, we encourage you to do so. You can find more information about the county's vaccination program here and schedule an appointment here

As you may have read, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has directed that COVID-19 vaccine may be made available to residents 65 and older. To reach as many people as possible, the county has opened several vaccination sites in the region. Vaccine supply has been limited across the state—and that is particularly true in Los Angeles County. As a result, Cedars-Sinai and other hospitals have not yet received sufficient vaccine supply from the county to broaden our vaccination efforts to everyone eligible. 

Your health is always our first priority, and we do not want you to wait to be vaccinated any longer than necessary. If you can book a vaccine appointment at one of the county's vaccine sites, we encourage you to do so. You can find more information about the county's vaccination program here and schedule an appointment here.

As the county sends us more doses, we will make appointments available through My CS-Link™ to our patients. We will continue that process until all of our patients 65 and older have been vaccinated, which regrettably could take months depending on supply. 

Your My CS-Link account is the fastest, most reliable way to receive up-to-date information about the vaccination process and will help to streamline appointments. Continue to check our website (we update it frequently) and, if you haven't already, please take a moment to install the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced he is opening vaccine administration to residents 65 and older. While this is welcome news for Cedars-Sinai patients, we are awaiting definitive guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on when and how to implement the governor’s directive. Decisions about vaccine administration are determined by Los Angeles County and we are in daily communication with our colleagues at the county’s Department of Public Health. 

At present, we don’t know exactly when we will be able to offer vaccines to our patients. We do want you to know, with complete confidence, that when we are authorized to proceed, we will notify our patients immediately. We also want to remind you that your My CS-Link™ account is the fastest, most reliable way to receive up-to-date information about the vaccination process and will help to streamline appointments when scheduling becomes available.

We hope you will continue to check our website (we update it frequently) and, if you haven’t already,  please take a moment to install the Cedars-Sinai app from the Apple App Store or Google Play