COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank you for visiting our COVID-19 vaccine information page! Please see below for frequently asked questions about the COVID vaccine, and to learn how to get the vaccine at Roots! When supplies are available, we also offer flu and MPOX vaccines during the same times as COVID vaccines.

How can I get the COVID Vaccine at Roots?

  • Click here to learn how to get the vaccine at our Oakland site
  • Click here to learn how to get the vaccine at our San Jose (South Bay) site.

Deciding to get the vaccine

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

Anyone 5 and up can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

For more information on eligibility at each Roots site, click here for our Oakland site and click here for our South Bay (San Jose) site

Which brand of vaccine should I get for the booster dose?

You may choose to get any brand for your booster, but here are Roots’ mix and match recommendations:

If you received…

Moderna – stick with Moderna (the booster is a half-dose), unless there was an *unanticipated* reaction.

Pfizer – stick with Pfizer (the booster is a full dose) unless there was an *unanticipated* reaction

We discourage mix and match between the mRNA vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer), because each vaccine uses different inactive ingredients, so we believe there is no need to be exposed to new ones unnecessarily. However, there is no evidence to show that mixing the two are unsafe, and they are both comparable in effectiveness.

Johnson & Johnson – Moderna or Pfizer seem to offer better protection so we recommend switching to Moderna or Pfizer for your booster. You can get the booster 2 months or more after your first Johnson & Johnson dose

For more recommendations regarding booster doses, see the CDC’s updated guidance on boosters.

Should I get the vaccine if I am immunocompromised?

Yes. Moderately or severely immunocompromised people are at higher risk for poor outcomes from COVID, so it is important to get vaccinated to protect their health. People who qualify as being moderately or severely immunocompromised include people who have:

  • Been receiving active 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 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

If you have one of these conditions or believe you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, talk to your primary care provider about the best COVID vaccination schedule for you. See here for more information about the COVID vaccine for immunocompromised people.

Is the vaccine safe?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • As of 10/256/24/2021, 414 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
  • CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

Of note, women of childbearing age should consider the very small risk of getting thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a potentially serious blood clotting condition, with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) are not shown to pose this risk and are considered to be more effective vaccines, so women in this group who have the choice are suggested to get an mRNA vaccine.

For more information on the rare health problems that have been associated with the COVID vaccine to date, see the following pages from the CDC:

Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination

Because all reported conditions are rare and very few of those are considered serious, it is still recommended that everyone 12 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine as the risks associated with getting sick, being hospitalized, and dying from COVID-19 are all greater than the risks associated with receiving the vaccine.

What vaccines are available?

Currently Roots has the Moderna & Pfizer vaccines. We are no longer offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Below are Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) fact sheets from the FDA that give more detail about these vaccines. They include who should and should not get the vaccine, vaccine ingredients, risks and benefits, and possible side effects. It is recommended that you read or have this document explained to you before you receive the vaccine to make sure that you are making an informed choice:

How do the different vaccines compare?

Here is a table comparing the different available vaccines:

Manufacturer/vaccine type Age group Number of doses in primary series Number of booster doses Interval between 1st and 2nd primary doses Interval between primary series and booster dose Common side effects Effective across gender and race Effectiveness against COVID associated ventilation and death
Pfizer-BioNTech (mRNA) 5–11 years 2 NA 3 weeks NA  


Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site


Tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea

Yes 94%**
Pfizer-BioNTech (mRNA) 12 years and older 2 1† 3-8 weeks‡ At least 5 months† Yes 94%**
Moderna (mRNA) 18 years and older 2 1† 4-8 weeks‡ At least 5 months† Yes 94%**
Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Viral Vector) 18 years and older 1 1† NA At least 2 months† Yes 85%***

†All people ages 12 years and older should receive 1 booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Some adults may receive a second booster dose:

  • Adults ages 18-49 years: Those who received Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine as both their primary series dose and booster dose may receive an mRNA COVID-19 booster dose at least 4 months after the Janssen booster dose.
  • Adults ages 50 years and older: A second mRNA booster dose could benefit people ages 50 years and older, as they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. People ages 50 years and older may choose to receive a second booster dose, if it has been at least 4 months after the first booster

‡An 8-week interval may be optimal for some people ages 12 years and older, especially for males ages 12–39 years. A shorter interval (3 weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech; 4 weeks for Moderna) between the first and second doses remains the recommended interval for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised; adults ages 65 years and older; and in situations in which there is increased concern about COVID-19 community levels or an individual’s higher risk of severe disease.

*If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, talk to your doctor about the right times to get vaccinated.
**When fully vaccinated and boosted. Measured during the initial wave of the omicron variant in 2021/2022.
***When fully vaccinated and boosted. Measured during the initial wave of the omicron variant in South Africa in 2021.

What does the vaccine cost?

Roots currently receives our COVID vaccines from the government for free, so there is no charge for the vaccine itself. If you are a Roots patient and we have your insurance on file, we may bill your insurance for the administrative costs of giving you the vaccine.

Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the vaccine during pregnancy protects you from severe illness from COVID-19, and pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, you may discuss them with your healthcare provider, but that is not required for vaccination.

How long do I need to wait to get other (non-COVID) vaccines?

We recommend you do not get any other vaccines for two weeks before and two weeks after the COVID-19 vaccine.

If I got my first dose already, can I get my second dose at Roots?

Yes! Please bring your vaccination card so we can update it.


Are there any dietary considerations for the vaccine?

At this time there are no special considerations for this. There are no foods or beverages that cause the vaccine to be more or less effective. Many people who have gotten the vaccine say that drinking plenty of water helps with reducing side effects.

Is it safe to get the COVID vaccine even though I take medications?

It is safe to get the vaccine with most all medications. However, if you are taking medications that suppress the immune system, talk to your doctor about when would be best for you to get the vaccine.

Will the COVID test come back positive due to vaccination?

The viral (PCR) tests that tell whether you have a current infection will not turn positive because of the vaccine. However, the vaccine does cause your body to make antibodies, which is your immune system’s way of being ready to fight the virus if you ever come in contact with it. Therefore, if you take an antibody test it will come back positive.

After Receiving the Vaccine

How long does it take the vaccine to work?

The vaccine will be at its full effectiveness 2 weeks after your final dose.

How do masking and distancing guidelines change after I am fully vaccinated?

Masking guidance is continually changing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, depending on individual circumstances, as well as how many people are testing positive in the community, and how many people in the community have been vaccinated. In Oakland, vaccination rates are relatively low, and a large portion of COVID-positive cases are “variants of concern”. Variants of Concern are strains of the virus that may cause more severe COVID symptoms and/or be more resistant to the vaccine. This is why it is still important to mask and/or distance in many situations even after you are fully vaccinated.

If you or your close contacts are at risk for poor outcomes from COVID, we recommend continuing to use distancing, and to use masks when distancing is not possible. If everyone is vaccinated at home or in your social groups, it is safe to not distance or mask in those situations.

If you or your close contacts are not at risk for poor outcomes from COVID, we recommend following the State of California’s guidelines. Please note that the guidelines will be different before June 15th and after June 15th in 2021. Access the State of California guidelines here.

Keep in mind that you are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks have passed after your final COVID vaccine shot. Follow instructions for unvaccinated people until you are fully vaccinated.

Will I have to get vaccinated again in the future?

We are still learning how long the vaccines will last. So far we have the data to show that it is effective for most people at least six months, and it is likely to be effective for longer. For updates on vaccine effectiveness, you can check this CDC webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Will I ever need to take a Covid test again?

Like with most vaccines, it is still possible to get COVID once you are fully vaccinated, although the chances are much smaller. If you get COVID-like symptoms after being vaccinated, especially loss of taste or smell or respiratory symptoms, it is a good idea to get tested again so that you can be aware and take steps to protect others who are not yet vaccinated.

How can I help health officials learn more about the COVID and vaccine?

After you get the vaccine, please sign up for V-Safe. This is a national program that helps health officials catch any vaccine problems early. You can sign up at: After you register, you will receive brief surveys about how you are feeling for a couple weeks after you receive each dose. You can opt out of the surveys at any time.

Do you still have questions about the timing or safety of the vaccine or about whether you should get the vaccine in your specific situation? If so, please reach out to your primary care provider, or request a nurse call-back for questions about the vaccine at [email protected]

Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself, your household and your community!