As of August 23, 57.4% of all Whatcom residents are fully vaccinated, and 63% have gotten at least one dose. Out of everyone who’s currently eligible, including adolescents and teens ages 12-17, 72.2% have gotten at least one dose.
Pop-up Vaccination Clinics and Other Walk-In Options
Remember, these pop-ups are in addition to other regular vaccine clinics, such as pharmacies (large and small), grocery stores and healthcare clinics. Many of these places also accept walk-ins or same-day appointments. For a complete list of COVID-19 vaccine providers near you, go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.
Full FDA Approval for Pfizer Vaccine
We’ve reached another important milestone towards ending the pandemic. After passing rigorous review, the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech received full FDA approval on August 23.
Although businesses and other organizations could previously require vaccination under workplace health and safety regulations, full FDA approval reduces other barriers to potential vaccination requirements. We encourage people who hesitated getting vaccinated under the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) and were waiting for regular FDA approval to find a vaccination site offering Pfizer and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Since kids under 12 and people with certain medical conditions aren't able to get vaccinated, and many who are immunocompromised may not get the full benefits of vaccination, we need people who are able to get their shots. Go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov to find a provider, visit one of the pop-up clinics listed above, or call 1-833-VAX-HELP or (360) 788-6075 for assistance making a vaccination appointment.
Policies that improve public health frequently include requirements. Children are required to be vaccinated against a number of preventable illnesses in order to attend school, and some industries require vaccination to protect workers from on-the-job hazards, like hepatitis or measles/mumps/rubella. These requirements protect children, caregivers and workers from a variety of debilitating and potentially deadly diseases and infections.
What A Booster Dose Is and Isn’t
There has been some confusion about the use of the term “booster” when referring to COVID-19 vaccines. Some people are now eligible for a third dose to complete their primary series, but that’s different from a “booster dose,” which will become available to everyone in the near future.
It helps to think of an initial series of vaccinations (one, two, or three doses) as a primary series, based on the type of vaccine and whether or not the person being vaccinated has a condition that requires an additional dose to achieve full benefit. Recently, the FDA authorized an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for people with certain moderate or severe immune compromising conditions, such as people who have:
Booster doses are additional doses taken after completion of a 1, 2 or 3 dose primary series. The White House announced that boosters will become available September 20, 2021 for people who completed their primary series of Moderna of Pfizer at least eight months before, pending FDA approval and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations.
Booster doses aren’t authorized yet and are only being considered for Moderna and Pfizer right now. There isn’t enough data yet to say definitively whether booster doses of Johnson & Johnson will be necessary. Likewise, additional primary doses of Johnson & Johnson are not yet currently authorized for immunocompromised people.
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.