Way to go, Whatcom! As of July 10, 70.1% of Whatcom residents 16 and older have initiated vaccination! We’ve crossed an important milestone in our county’s pursuit of community immunity.
We do have more work to do though. Currently, 54.5% of Whatcom residents are fully vaccinated, which means nearly half of the county isn’t fully protected against COVID-19 yet. Some of us -- like those 12 and under -- are not yet able to get vaccinated. But if you are eligible and haven’t started vaccination yet, make an appointment as soon as you can. If you have started, make sure you get your second dose as soon as recommended. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and all its variants is to get both doses! You are still vulnerable to infection if you’re only partially vaccinated.
The Delta Variant
You may have heard of the Delta variant in the news recently. As of last week, we now have one reported case of this variant in Whatcom County. Nationally, it’s now responsible for 1 in 4 cases. It’s highly infectious, even more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself is much more infections than the original strain of COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself against the Delta variant is to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A single dose of Pfizer or Moderna offers less protection against the Delta variant and others, but both doses still offer strong protection against this and all other variants. The one-and done Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also give you strong protection from the Delta variant.
For more information about the Delta variant, read our recent Newsflash about it. The DOH has more information about all known new variants in Washington state.
Pop-up Vaccination Clinics and Other Walk-In Options
Living in Lynden or elsewhere in North Whatcom? The Old Lynden Middle School Gym is hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic this Friday, July 16. It’s located at 516 Main Street in Lynden, and the clinic runs from 3-6pm. COVID-19 testing services are offered here, too!
There are lots of other local vaccine providers that currently offer COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment. Go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov or call 1-833-VAX-HELP for a complete list of local vaccine providers. You can also text your zip code to GET-VAX (438-829) or VACUNA (822-862) to find a provider near you.
Call Us If You Need Help
If you need help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine, or if you need translation services, you can get help from a real human if you call 360-778-6075 between 8:30am-4pm. We can answer other questions you have about COVID vaccines, testing, symptoms and more too. If you need help outside of those hours, you can call 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357).
Slightly Increased Risk of Rare Side Effect Associated with Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Yesterday, the FDA warned of a small but increased chance of a rare neurological disorder called Guillain Barre syndrome associated with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. So far, the FDA has received 100 reports of Guillain Barre syndrome out of more than 13 million people who’ve gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but the available evidence is not enough to determine whether or not the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is directly responsible for these reports. Since the likelihood of this syndrome occurring is low - your chances are about 1 in 130,000 - the FDA is still recommending the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, since the benefits still far outweigh the known risks.
The risk of acquiring Guillain Barre syndrome is believed to be greatest within 42 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the following symptoms within 42 days of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
- Weakness or tingling sensations, especially in the legs or arms, that’s worsening and spreading to other parts of the body
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Double vision or inability to move eyes
- Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function
MythBusted: The pandemic is over, so I don’t need to get vaccinated.
Washington’s open now thanks to widespread vaccination, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. We still need to wear masks in many settings, and we could slide back into full restrictions if our hospitals become overwhelmed.
The vaccine offers lots of protection against COVID-19, but only to those who get it. If you’re not yet vaccinated, you’re still vulnerable, and so are those around you. The virus hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s only gotten stronger. New, more transmissible variants like the Delta variants raise the risk of serious COVID-19 illness for the unvaccinated.
You can help protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated for COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. Go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov to find a vaccine provider near you.
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine planning, and vaccine safety can be found on the DOH’s COVID-19 vaccine web page at www.covidvaccinewa.org. For information about COVID-19 vaccination in Whatcom County, visit our webpage at www.whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine.