Page last updated: March 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m.
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:
As vaccines receive Emergency Use Authorization or approval from the FDA, Washington State, along with other western states, does an independent review of the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
You might have mild reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, like fatigue or soreness where the vaccine was injected. As with any vaccine, serious reactions have been rare during vaccine testing, and the benefits of getting vaccinated greatly outweigh any risk.
The vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance.
The federal Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) has been reimbursing vaccine providers for the costs of vaccinating uninsured people. However, funding will end for vaccination on April 5 and uninsured people will need to pay out-of-pocket at most locations.
Because Whatcom County Health Department vaccination pop-up clinics are funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), these clinics will continue vaccinating uninsured persons at no out-of-pocket cost. Visit our vaccination page to see the weekly pop-up clinic list.
You’re considered fully vaccinated two (2) weeks after you’ve gotten the last shot in your vaccination series, so two (2) weeks after your second shot of Moderna or Pfizer or two (2) weeks after one shot of Johnson & Johnson. All shots in your primary series must be from the same brand.
If you completed your vaccination series with Moderna or Pfizer and you’re moderately or severely immunocompromised, you may need a third dose. If this is the case, you aren’t considered fully protected until two (2) weeks after your third dose; however, for any vaccination verification purposes, you are still considered fully vaccinated after your second dose. More information about third doses here.
You must be fully vaccinated before you can be eligible for a booster, but booster doses don’t need to be the same brand as your first, second, or third dose. You’re considered fully vaccinated whether or not you choose to get a booster. More information about booster doses here.
For more information on what to do after you’re vaccinated, please refer to:
As we work to vaccinate our community, we know that it will be a team effort, and that team includes you. You may have people in your life who are unsure about whether to get the vaccine. If you'd like to talk to them about the vaccine, you can find some tips in the health department's vaccine confidence discussion guide, with more information about the vaccine in our COVID vaccines fact sheet. Also visit our Vaccine Questions page, which covers common misconceptions about the vaccines.