Your turn! A student’s guide to being vaccinated in L.A.

By Evan Beller, 10th Grade


In case you haven’t heard, starting April 15 — next Wednesday — California plans to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all persons ages 16 and older. With this huge wave of demand, many are worried that they won’t be able to find an appointment to get the vaccine.

They have a point: even people for whom it’s been eligible for months have had trouble signing up for a vaccine. Complicating matters further, as of April 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized only the Pfizer vaccine for ages 16 and above,  making it the only vaccine allowed for minors and so perhaps even more in demand.  

Though a thrilling experience it may be, getting your vaccine appointment therefore won’t be easy. So here is a guide for people ages 16 and 17. It also applies to everyone 18 and older. 



  • Los Angeles County “Point of Dispensing,” or POD, sites
    • Pomona Fairplex, LA County Office of Education, Central Public Health Center, The Inglewood Forum, Balboa Sports Complex, Cal State Northridge, El Sereno Recreation Center, MLK Jr. Center for Public Health, Magic Mountain, and Antelope Valley Health Center. 
  • Other Mass Vaccination Sites — run by fire departments, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) or Kaiser
    • Cal Poly Pomona and Pierce College.
  • These clinics and hospitals
    • Kedren, UCLA, Kaiser, St. John’s, Henry Mayo and El Camino College
  • CVS pharmacies and Walgreens pharmacies

Hurdle No. 1:  Pharmacies have some additional rules of their own. While you may be eligible under LA County’s rules, it isn’t definite that CVS or Walgreens would administer the vaccine to you even if they have appointments available.



To schedule an appointment at a mass vaccination site, clinic or hospital, you need to go to the California-run “My Turn” website.

Hurdle No. 2: My Turn appointments cannot be scheduled via phone call, only through the website. On the My Turn website, you will be asked for your age, health conditions and place of residency. Once you enter your ZIP code, information about nearby vaccination sites will appear. At that point, for each site you will be able to find:

  • Times of operation
  • Type of vaccine administered
  • Available appointment times

Hurdle No. 3: Most of the time, there will be few or no to no appointments available.

TIP: If no nearby sites or appointments are available, check the website later. And later. And tomorrow. And the next day. And again and again until appointments are available.

TIP: Most sites on the My Turn website with the title “MegaPOD” or “POD” administer vaccines from Monday to Wednesday and update appointment availability every Sunday morning. Appointments are usually available until Sunday afternoon; by nighttime they are often booked up.

Other sites operate under their own unique schedules, but can all be found on the My Turn website. So periodically checking the My Turn website may be the best opportunity for booking an appointment at those locations. 

To schedule your second appointment: Most locations on the My Turn website allow you to book your first and second dose appointments at the same time. But if you aren’t given the option automatically, you should schedule it yourself,  three to six weeks after the first dose, as per the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation.

To schedule an appointment at CVS: Click Here

To schedule an appointment at Walgreens: Click Here.  

Like the My Turn website, CVS and Walgreens websites you will need to check off your eligibility and input your ZIP code in order to register. Appointments can only be scheduled via the website. Calling your local CVS or Walgreens location can answer questions such as the type of vaccine administered at that location, eligibility at the location, and papers required to get the shot, but appointments cannot be made by phone.

To schedule at Walgreens, you must set up a free Walgreens account, but this is an easy process. 

Also, both CVS and Walgreens only allow users to schedule up to five days in advance and will schedule your second dose automatically. 

TIP: CVS updates its appointment times every day at 12 midnight, and Walgreens updates sporadically but usually between 6 and 8 a.m.  You should be constantly checking and refreshing those websites to find new available appointments.



Bring these with you: 

  • Photo ID (Student ID, Driver’s License/Permit, Passport)
  • Proof of residency (Student ID, Driver’s License/Permit, Passport)
  • Health insurance information
  • A parent or guardian –unless you’re already 18

Once you get your shot, expect to stay put for at least 15 minutes so personnel can watch you for allergic reactions. If you have a history of serious allergic reactions to anything (for example, if you carry an EpiPen), you may need to wait 30 minutes to be sure you’re okay and don’t need medical attention right away.

After receiving the vaccine, it is common to experience symptoms. Among the most common are:

  • Fever, chills and muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Sore or red arm

If you experience any unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist after two days, call a medical professional.  Click here to see the CDC’s website about the Pfizer vaccine and its side effects.



     Current data show that you will be immune from Covid-19 a week after your second dose. There isn’t yet conclusive evidence on whether the vaccine prevents people from spreading the virus asymptomatically, although recent studies from Israel suggest their chance is much lower. 

     For now though, you should still wear a mask around those who aren’t fully vaccinated. In California, it is required to wear face masks and social distance even after vaccination.

Digital Media Editor Eli Weiss contributed to this story