COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Page last updated April 13, 2021 at 9:52 a.m.

COVID-19 Vaccination Progress for Whatcom County

table showing Whatcom county COVID-19 vaccination progress
See our Data Dashboard Explainer (PDF) for more details.

Vaccine Eligibility

Who is eligible to get a vaccine right now?

Anyone in Phase 1A and Phase 1B Tiers 1-4 can be vaccinated. In Washington, everybody over the age of 16 will be eligible by April 15. 

Review the full description of DOH's phased vaccination plan or read more details about Phase 1B.

Phase 1A:

  • High-risk, frontline workers in healthcare settings.
  • High-risk first responders.
  • People who live or work in long-term care. 
  • Parents of children with disabilities or underlying conditions that put them at heightened risk for severe COVID-19 illness, who must provide daily living assistance for their child. 
  • Parents of children 18 years or older with underlying conditions that put them at heightened risk for severe COVID019 illness, who are contracted with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) as their personal care provider.
  • All other healthcare workers.

Phase 1B Tier 1:

  • All people over the age of 65.
  • People 50 years or older who live in multigenerational households.
  • Pre-K - 12 educators and staff and childcare workers (effective March 2, 2021. Read DOH’s News Release here)

Phase 1B Tier 2:

  • High- risk critical workers in certain congregate settings - agriculture, fishing vessel crews, food processing, grocery stores, corrections, prisons, jails, or detention facilities, public transit, fire, and law enforcement.
  • People over 16 who are pregnant.
  • People over 16 with a disability that puts them at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

Phase 1B Tiers 3 and 4:

  • Anyone with two or more underlying conditions, as determined by the CDC
  • Anyone between the ages of 60 and 64.
  • Anyone living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc). 
  • Additional workers in certain congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction).

Learn more about Phase 1B

Everyone who wishes to be vaccinated will be able to get vaccinated. Right now, there is not enough vaccine supply to meet demand. When more vaccine doses arrive in Whatcom County, local vaccine providers will be able to vaccinate people faster.


Where To Get Vaccinated 

Where can I get a vaccine?

In our community, we have a strong network of pharmacies, tribal health centers, community health centers, and primary care providers who will be able to offer the vaccine. 

Use the Vaccine Locator at www.covidvaccinewa.org to find a vaccine provider near you.

You can also make an appointment at the Community Vaccination Center (CVC). The CVC is currently running weekly clinics, and will expand operations as vaccine supply increases.

How can I find information about where to get vaccinated?

You can use this Vaccine Locations List to see which providers in Whatcom County are enrolled to receive vaccine doses and are accepting vaccination appointments. You should know that because vaccine supply is very limited in our county, the providers listed may not have vaccine or may be fully booked.

If your regular health care provider isn’t listed, you can check their website for more information, or look for emails, texts, or portal messages from them.

Please do not call provider offices directly. Providers are receiving so many calls that phone systems are overwhelmed, and people who are calling for other health concerns are not able to get through. Thank you for being patient.

You can also call the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 or 888-856-5816 for assistance. Call takers can help you determine your eligibility, can tell you which locations near you offer the COVID-19 vaccine, and help you schedule an appointment if needed. This line also has a Spanish option.

Will Whatcom County have a community vaccination clinic?

A community collaboration of healthcare providers, including Bellingham Technical College (BTC), Family Care Network, Hoagland Pharmacy, PeaceHealth, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Unity Care NW, the Whatcom County Health Department, and Whatcom Unified Command has launched a COVID-19 Community Vaccination Center at Bellingham Technical College. The clinic hours and scheduling will ramp up in the coming weeks, depending on vaccine availability. The group's goal is to vaccinate up to 5,000 people per week, depending on the reliability of weekly vaccine shipments from the state.

Safety and What To Expect

Is the vaccine safe?

Vaccines must pass some of the toughest safety measures in medicine. The process to approve and monitor vaccines has been around for decades. It’s the same process used to develop vaccines for measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and the seasonal flu.

The process to bring a safe and effective vaccine to you begins with clinical trials. Trials are ongoing for COVID-19 vaccines under development. Throughout vaccine development and distribution, there are numerous safety measures. These include:

  • The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes and monitors the trials.
  • Two other independent advisory committees provide oversight and monitor for safety during vaccine development and testing. 
  • Another committee continues to monitor for safety and adverse effects when a safe and effective vaccine is ready for distribution. 

As vaccines are authorized by the FDA, Washington State, along with other western states, will do an independent review of the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. We will only promote safe and effective vaccines.

Learn more about how the vaccine makes its way from manufacturers to you.

What should I expect when I get vaccinated?

Reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine can include soreness where the vaccine was injected and fatigue. A full list of possible reactions can be found here. As with any vaccine, serious reactions have been rare during vaccine testing, and the benefits of getting vaccinated greatly outweigh any risk. 

If you have had serious reactions to vaccines in the past or severe allergies, consult with your healthcare provider.

This fact sheet from the Washington State Department of Health has more information about who should get the vaccine, what you might experience, and what you should do after you get your shot. The same information in additional languages can be found under the vaccine drop-down menu on DOH’s resources page.

How much will it cost?

The vaccine will be provided at no cost. It will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance, and the cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured. 

How many doses will I need?

Two of the three currently approved vaccines - the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines - require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose. If required, your provider will discuss the need for a second dose after you’ve had your first. 

How do I know which vaccine I got and if I need another dose?

Your provider will let you know which vaccine you received and if you need a second dose. It will also be marked on your vaccination card you receive at the time of your appointment. You can also access your vaccination record at https://wa.myir.net/rorl.

Can I specifically request a certain vaccine?

Because vaccine supply is still so limited, you will not be able to select which vaccine you will receive at this time. The best vaccine is the one you can get right now. 

You can see which clinics are offering which vaccines at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov, but it’s a good idea to make the next appointment available to you, no matter which vaccine is offered.

What can I do once I'm fully vaccinated?

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has adopted CDC guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated. If someone has been fully vaccinated, they can:

  • Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people in private residences without wearing a mask.
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household in private residences  without masks (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together). Everyone should still wear a mask if anyone there has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Refrain from quarantine or getting tested following a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, as long as you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Until directed otherwise by medical experts, those who are fully vaccinated should continue to do the following:

  • Wear a mask and keep 6 feet away:
    • In every public setting.
    • When visiting unvaccinated people who are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 complications
    • When visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households 
  • Keep your gatherings small.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

Learn more from the CDC.

How To Volunteer and Stay Informed

I would like to volunteer. How can I help?

Thank you for your interest in volunteering to help with our local COVID-19 vaccination effort! To sign up, go to www.whatcomcovid.com/volunteer. Licensed medical professionals who would like to volunteer to support the Community Vaccination Center can fill out the form “Medical Licensed Personnel Volunteer”. Volunteers can also help with other jobs like traffic control, scheduling, set-up, and more. If you are not a medical professional and want to volunteer, fill out the General Volunteer form.

We are also taking applications for volunteers for our COVID-19 testing and contract tracing operations. To sign up for COVID-19 testing volunteer roles, fill out a form at www.whatcomcovid.com/volunteer. If you’d like to volunteer as a contact tracer, sign up on WCHD’s website.

Washington State is also recruiting volunteer medical professionals. You can sign up and learn more at www.waserv.org.

How can I stay informed?

We’ll continue to update this page. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine planning, development and safety standards from DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You can also sign up for email updates. Select Health - Public Health News, Health - Vaccine Updates for Businesses, or Health - Vaccine Updates for Schools to subscribe to email updates with the latest local information about the COVID-19 vaccine. Updates are archived here: Public Health News, Vaccine Updates for Businesses, Vaccine Updates for Schools.

 

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