COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Page last updated Thursday March 4, 2021 at 3:45 p.m.


COVID-19 Vaccination Progress for Whatcom County

table showing Whatcom county COVID-19 vaccination progress

Vaccine Eligibility 

Who is eligible to get a vaccine right now?

Anyone in Phase 1A or Phase 1B and Phase 1B Tier 1 can be vaccinated. Please don't call healthcare providers about the COVID-19 vaccine. High call volumes prevent those with other healthcare needs from getting needed care.

Vaccine administration is occurring in phases. We are currently in Phase 1A and Phase 1B Tier 1, as defined by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Review the full description of the guidance summary here. For more information about Phase 1B, visit this page

Phase 1A:

  • High-risk, frontline workers in healthcare settings.
  • High-risk first responders.
  • People who live or work in long-term care. 
  • 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 licensed childcare workers (effective March 2, 2021. Read DOH’s News Release here)

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 will I be able to 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. As vaccine supply increases, you will be able to get it in the places you normally get vaccines, such as health clinics and pharmacies.

If you are in Phase 1B Tier 1, you can check your healthcare provider's website to see if they are an enrolled vaccine provider, if they have a supply of vaccine, and if they are taking appointments. Watch for mail, text, email, or patient portal messages as well about their plans for vaccination. Please don’t call your provider to ask about vaccines. Our vaccine providers are experiencing high volumes and patients needing primary care are having difficulty getting through to their healthcare provider. Wait times right now last several hours, and calling is not the best way to find out where to get a vaccine.

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 use PhaseFinder to determine your eligibility, and they can tell you which locations near you offer the COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • COVID-19 vaccine appointments cannot be scheduled through this phone line.  
  • 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 is planning to open a large-scale community COVID-19 vaccination clinic to be located at Bellingham Technical College. We anticipate opening the vaccine clinic in March, 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. The group is working diligently to finalize operations, staffing, logistics, and other details.

How do I make an appointment for the mobile clinic?

The mobile clinic, which is still in the trial phase, is currently focused on vaccinating Phase 1A groups who are eligible but have struggled with access. Any expansion of the mobile clinic will likely be focused on vulnerable groups with transportation challenges or other barriers that limit access to other vaccination sites. Whether or not there will be an appointment process for the mobile clinic hasn't been determined.

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 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 www.covidvaccinewa.org, but it’s a good idea to make the next appointment available to you, no matter which vaccine is offered.

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! While the WCHD and WUC are not staffing vaccination clinics at this time, you can apply as a volunteer for future community clinics. To sign up, go to www.whatcomcovid.com/volunteer. Licensed medical professionals who would like to volunteer to support possible large-scale community vaccination clinic efforts 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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