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Cedars-Sinai Blog

COVID-19 Vaccine Update for Patients

A COVID-19 vaccine at Cedars-Sinai

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)

Past updates

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

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