COVID-19 Vaccine

From the start of the pandemic, data and science have guided Pasadena’s response to COVID-19. That continues to be true when it comes to vaccines.

Pasadena is putting everything in place to distribute and administer vaccine doses as quickly as possible, after vaccine safety has been reviewed and approved by a panel of top health experts. All vaccines used in the U.S. are required to go through extensive safety testing before they are licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or recommended for widespread use.

Two new COVID-19 vaccines have received emergency authorization for use in the U.S. The vaccines are similar, and both are highly effective at preventing disease. Both vaccines are messenger RNA (or mRNA) vaccines require two doses, and both are reactogenic, which means they can cause sore arm, fatigue, headache, and even low-grade fever that lasts one or two days. These reactions indicate that the vaccine is working and the immune system is responding.

Pasadena's plan for the distribution and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine follows the guidelines and requirements of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

If you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer or complete the form below for more information. If you are a long-term care facility resident, contact your caretaker. In many parts of Pasadena and Los Angeles County, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will administer the vaccines in long-term care facility staff and residents. Pasadena residents and the community should coordinate with their healthcare providers.

Here is information on the guidelines for vaccine allocation:

Healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses and provide the same efficacy. PPHD is managing the vaccine distribution process and will be following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health.

Phases and tiers for vaccine distribution were established by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDPH. ACIP is an independent panel of medical and public health experts brought together by the CDC to make recommendations about vaccine policies. The ACIP recommends to the CDC which people should be in each phase. While states often follow the ACIP recommendations, final decisions about when different groups will get the vaccine are made by each state. In California, those decisions are being made by CDPH. The Pasadena Public Health Department is responsible for carrying out the state’s plan, deciding exactly how each phase of vaccine distribution will be carried out: where vaccines will be given, who will be giving the vaccines, and how the city will make sure everyone has a chance to get a vaccine when it is offered to people in their phase in an equitable manner.

Thirteen of Pasadena's Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) are enrolled in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program. The program has partnered with local pharmacies that will facilitate safe vaccination of this critical patient population, while reducing the burden on LTC facilities (LTCF). At no cost to facilities, the program provides end-to-end management of the COVID-19 vaccination process, including cold chain management, on-site vaccinations, and fulfillment of reporting requirements. LTCFs are coordinating appointments with the pharmacy partners.

When can I get the vaccine?

The supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be limited for the first few months. This means that the vaccine will be offered to different groups of people at different times. When enough vaccine is ready, it will be offered to everyone.

If you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer or complete the form below for more information. If you are a long-term care facility resident, contact your caretaker. In many parts of Pasadena and Los Angeles County, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will administer the vaccines in long-term care facility staff and residents.

Pasadena residents and the community should coordinate with their healthcare providers for vaccine availability.

Where will I be able to get COVID-19 vaccine?

When vaccine is available to other groups of people, it will likely be given at:

  • Primary care offices and clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Some workplaces
  • Public health vaccination clinics

Vaccination Phases (click to view the description for each phase)

Phase 1a - Currently vaccinating


  • Healthcare workers providing direct care
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities

Note: prioritization is subject to change.

View the California Department of Public Health Allocation Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine During Phase 1A: Recommendations.

Phase 1b - Up next


  • 1B Tier One
    • People ages 75 years and over;
    • People at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education staff and childcare services, emergency services not already identified in Phase 1a, and food and agriculture.
  • 1B Tier Two
    • People ages 65-74 years;
    • Congregate settings with outbreak risk: incarcerated individuals, people experiencing homelessness or those who are unhoused;
    • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential and sheltering facilities and services; and critical manufacturing.

For information on sectors designated as Essential Workforce, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/.

Phase 1c


  • People ages 50 to 64 not already identified in previous phases;
  • People ages 16 to 64 years with underlying health conditions/disabilities that place them at high risk for severe COVID-19;
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations/community-based essential functions.

Phase 2


  • Status: Proposed but may be modified by CDC and/or CDPH.
    • Persons 16-64 years old not previously vaccinated in other phases.

Phase 3


  • Status: Proposed but may be modified by CDC and/or CDPH.
    • Everyone residing in the United States who did not receive the vaccine in previous phases.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. These data demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19).

California has its own Scientific Safety Review Workgroup comprised of immunization, public health, academic and other experts who are vetting vaccine safety. The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has confirmed that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have met high standards for safety and efficacy. View the Emergency Use Authorizations:

For more information on vaccine safety, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html. If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, register for v-safe, a health checker to share confidential information and get reminded to get your second dose.

Vaccinated individuals should keep wearing masks, washing hands and watching their distance until the vaccine has been widely distributed.

Both approved vaccines are messenger RNA (or mRNA) vaccines
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is found in all living cells. mRNA vaccines work by teaching cells how to make a protein or a piece of a protein that triggers an immune response inside the body. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects against infection if an individual is exposed to the virus.

mRNA is not the same as DNA, and it cannot combine with our DNA to change our genetic code. It is also relatively fragile, and will only hang around inside a cell for about 72 hours, before being degraded. mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where DNA (genetic material) is stored.

If you are a healthcare provider located in the City of Pasadena and you would like to get more information about obtaining the vaccine, please submit your information using the form below.

Please submit the form below to receive more information in the future on how to access the COVID-19 vaccine for Pasadena residents ages 65 and over.

NOTE: This is not an appointment scheduler.

At this time we are waiting for vaccine supply from the State, and we will make appointments available when vaccine is available. Please contact your primary healthcare provider who may have access to the COVID-19 vaccine sooner.

If you need assistance or have additional questions, please call the Citizen’s Service Center at (626) 744-7311.