COVID-19

Washington’s healthcare providers, research institutions, and life science companies have been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. From tracking epidemiological data to searching for a vaccine to manufacturing respirators, Washington has taken a leadership role during this pandemic. At the same time, the virus has disproportionately impacted communities of color, particularly farm workers in Yakima and other immigrant groups. We believe that additional policy measures are necessary to protect our communities and ensure everyone has access to all the resources they need to survive this pandemic.

Are you eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

As of May 13, 2021, all Washington residents age 12 and older are eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older. Pfizer BioNTech is the only authorized vaccine at this time for people ages 12 to 17 and requires parent or guardian consent.

See what parents of minors should know about COVID-19 vaccines ➜

The Pfizer vaccine, which was already authorized for people 16 and older, has been proven to be safe and extremely effective for 12 to 15-year-olds. Vaccinating this age group will protect children and give parents peace of mind. This is the best step families can take to ensure their kids are healthy, remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with their friends, and take part in the activities they enjoy.

Learn what the Pfizer authorization means for your family ➜

Please use the COVID-19 Vaccine Locator to find and schedule an appointment. When scheduling an appointment for someone 12 to 17, make sure the location you choose administers the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine currently authorized for people that age. Anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine is able to get it, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.

If you or a loved one need help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination, call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press #. The DOH is setting aside appointments for callers and can provide access to free and discounted rides to vaccine appointments. Language assistance is available.

In addition to this expansion, Pfizer recently announced it plans to seek authorization for its vaccine for 2 to 11-year-olds this fall, and for children 6 months to 2 years old at the end of 2021. Earlier this month the company applied for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which would make Pfizer the first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. with this distinction. The FDA is expected to take several weeks to review the application.

All Washington residents age 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines, in addition to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. The main difference is that Moderna and Pfizer require two doses to provide full protection, rather than one dose for J&J. 

Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

*Click to see answers about COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Washington.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe? They were developed so fast, so how can I be sure?

Use of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vaccine Resumed

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has immediately resumed the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine statewide for everyone age 18 years and older, following the guidance of the FDA and CDC. After a review of all available data, the J&J vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for those recommended to receive it.

The J&J vaccine was paused for 11 days due to reports of a rare, but serious side effect of blood clots with low platelets (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS) in women under age 50. This side effect is rare, occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this side effect is even more rare. The concern and pause was only associated with the J&J vaccine, not the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines.

If you get the J&J vaccine, or have received it recently, watch for the possible symptoms of a blood clot with low platelets for three weeks after receiving the vaccine and seek medical care right away if you develop any. Remember, it is normal to have mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, and joint/muscle pain, during the first week after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine. If you have any questions at all, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic.

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the state and federal government, and reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination are taken very seriously. Detecting these rare side effects tells us that the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines are working. The reports of a rare, but serious side effect of blood clots with low platelets were detected early, and the pause reflected the state and federal government’s commitment to transparency and safety as CDC and FDA gathered and reviewed additional data. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

If you are concerned about the increased risk of the J&J vaccine, Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are available. The concern and pause was only associated with the J&J vaccine, not the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines. The main difference is that Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech require two doses to provide full protection, rather than one dose for J&J. Please use the COVID-19 Vaccine Locator to find and schedule an appointment.

COVID-19 Vaccine Myth Busting

  • There is no question that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the U.S. have received shots.
  • The technology used to develop the first two COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S., from Moderna and Pfizer, is not new. It has been studied and used for decades in other medical research.
  • It’s true that the COVID vaccines were developed more quickly than other vaccines in the past. But they have been carefully tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. There were no serious safety concerns. The test results were reviewed and approved by several independent panels of experts.

CHPW hosted a virtual expert panel to answer questions and dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. Here is the full recording of the talk held on Zoom on March 31.

Conversation in English

Conversación En Español


Are there side effects? Will the shot hurt or make me sick?

Use of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vaccine Resumed

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has immediately resumed the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine statewide for everyone age 18 years and older, following the guidance of the FDA and CDC. After a review of all available data, the J&J vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for those recommended to receive it.

The J&J vaccine was paused for 11 days due to reports of a rare, but serious side effect of blood clots with low platelets (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS) in women under age 50. This side effect is rare, occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this side effect is even more rare. The concern and pause was only associated with the J&J vaccine, not the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines.

If you get the J&J vaccine, or have received it recently, watch for the possible symptoms of a blood clot with low platelets for three weeks after receiving the vaccine and seek medical care right away if you develop any. Remember, it is normal to have mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, and joint/muscle pain, during the first week after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine. If you have any questions at all, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic.

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the state and federal government, and reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination are taken very seriously. Detecting these rare side effects tells us that the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines are working. The reports of a rare, but serious side effect of blood clots with low platelets were detected early, and the pause reflected the state and federal government’s commitment to transparency and safety as CDC and FDA gathered and reviewed additional data. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

If you are concerned about the increased risk of the J&J vaccine, Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are available. The concern and pause was only associated with the J&J vaccine, not the Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech vaccines. The main difference is that Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech require two doses to provide full protection, rather than one dose for J&J. Please use the COVID-19 Vaccine Locator to find and schedule an appointment.

Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines

  • Some people experience mild or moderate side effects; others don’t. The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. You may also have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.
  • These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection. It means the vaccine is doing its job. It does not mean you have COVID-19. If the side effects don’t go away within a few days, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.
Can I get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine?

No! You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines currently in development in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

I have already had COVID. Do I still need to be vaccinated?

Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus again.

How much will it cost me to get a COVID vaccine?
  • Nothing. The federal government is covering the vaccine for free to all people living in the United States.
  • You should not be charged any out-of-pocket costs. You should not get a bill from your provider or from the place where you got your shot.
  • Some providers may bill your health insurance plan an “administration fee” for giving you the vaccine. This is separate from the cost of the vaccine itself. Health plans, like CHPW, will cover the cost of any administration fee.
Was the COVID-19 vaccine tested on minorities and communities of color?
  • The COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people of all races and ethnicities—who gave their consent—to make sure the vaccines are safe.
  • In the trials, the vaccines protected adults of different races, ethnicities, and ages from the virus.

➔ Protect Your Family – Get Vaccinated for COVID-19
➔ Proteja a su familia Vacúnese contra la COVID-19
➔ Ilaali Qoyskaaga Iska tallaal COVID-19
➔ ቤተሰብዎን ይጠብቁ የኮቪድ-19 ክትባትን ይውሰዱ
➔ 保护您的家人– 接种新冠19疫苗
➔ Bảo vệ Gia đình Quý vị Chủng ngừa COVID-19

CHPW hosted a virtual expert panel to answer questions and dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. Here is the full recording of the talk held on Zoom on March 31.

Conversation in English

Conversación En Español

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant or planning to become pregnant?

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommends you talk with your health care provider about whether the vaccine is right for you, based on your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?

No. This is a myth circulated online by non-scientific sources. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility.

Will the vaccine damage or change my DNA?
  • No, this is not possible. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s never enter the cell nucleus, where the DNA, your genetic material, lives.
  • The vaccine is broken down quickly once it enters the cell and delivers the needed “message” to the cell’s machinery.
  • Imagine the vaccine enters your body with an instruction manual. Your immune system memorizes the manual so it can fight COVID-19. It can’t change your DNA.
Once I get the COVID-19 vaccine, I am protected for life, right?
  • COVID vaccines have only recently been developed, so it’s too early to know the how long they will protect you. There’s ongoing research to answer this question.
  • What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
As of May 13, 2021, all Washington residents age 12 and older are eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older. Pfizer BioNTech is the only authorized vaccine at this time for people ages 12 to 17 and requires parent or guardian consent.

See what parents of minors should know about COVID-19 vaccines ➜

The Pfizer vaccine, which was already authorized for people 16 and older, has been proven to be safe and extremely effective for 12 to 15-year-olds. Vaccinating this age group will protect children and give parents peace of mind. This is the best step families can take to ensure their kids are healthy, remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with their friends, and take part in the activities they enjoy.

Learn what the Pfizer authorization means for your family ➜

Please use the COVID-19 Vaccine Locator to find and schedule an appointment. When scheduling an appointment for someone 12 to 17, make sure the location you choose administers the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine currently authorized for people that age. Anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine is able to get it, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.

If you or a loved one need help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination, call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press #. The DOH is setting aside appointments for callers and can provide access to free and discounted rides to vaccine appointments. Language assistance is available.

In addition to this expansion, Pfizer recently announced it plans to seek authorization for its vaccine for 2 to 11-year-olds this fall, and for children 6 months to 2 years old at the end of 2021. Earlier this month the company applied for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which would make Pfizer the first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. with this distinction. The FDA is expected to take several weeks to review the application.

All Washington residents age 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines, in addition to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. The main difference is that Moderna and Pfizer require two doses to provide full protection, rather than one dose for J&J. 

Where can I get the vaccine?
  • Use the DOH vaccine locator tool to find available COVID-19 vaccine appointments near you (within 50 miles). The vaccine locator includes real-time appointment availability and details to schedule an appointment. The tool is available in more than 30 languages.
  • You can also check with your local Community Health Center clinic or doctor’s office to see if they are offering the vaccine.
  • If you or a loved one need help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination, call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press #. The DOH is setting aside appointments for callers and can provide access to free and discounted rides to vaccine appointments. Language assistance is available.
  • If you or someone you know is homebound and unable to travel to a vaccine site, you may be able to get a vaccine in your home. Fill out a survey with the Washington State Department of Health to request service. If you have questions, email [email protected].
Can my child get vaccinated for COVID-19?

As of May 13, 2021, all Washington residents age 12 and older are eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older. Pfizer BioNTech is the only authorized vaccine at this time for people ages 12 to 17 and requires parent or guardian consent.

See what parents of minors should know about COVID-19 vaccines ➜

The Pfizer vaccine, which was already authorized for people 16 and older, has been proven to be safe and extremely effective for 12 to 15-year-olds. Vaccinating this age group will protect children and give parents peace of mind. This is the best step families can take to ensure their kids are healthy, remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with their friends, and take part in the activities they enjoy.

Learn what the Pfizer authorization means for your family ➜

Please use the COVID-19 Vaccine Locator to find and schedule an appointment. When scheduling an appointment for someone 12 to 17, make sure the location you choose administers the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine currently authorized for people that age. Anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine is able to get it, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.

If you or a loved one need help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination, call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press #. The DOH is setting aside appointments for callers and can provide access to free and discounted rides to vaccine appointments. Language assistance is available.

In addition to this expansion, Pfizer recently announced it plans to seek authorization for its vaccine for 2 to 11-year-olds this fall, and for children 6 months to 2 years old at the end of 2021. Earlier this month the company applied for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which would make Pfizer the first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. with this distinction. The FDA is expected to take several weeks to review the application.

All Washington residents age 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines, in addition to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. The main difference is that Moderna and Pfizer require two doses to provide full protection, rather than one dose for J&J. 

English is not my first language. Can I get COVID-19 vaccine information in other languages?

Yes. The CDC has a webpage with vaccine information that you can view in other languages. Just click on the “Languages” tab.

➔ Protect Your Family – Get Vaccinated for COVID-19
➔ Proteja a su familia Vacúnese contra la COVID-19
➔ Ilaali Qoyskaaga Iska tallaal COVID-19
➔ ቤተሰብዎን ይጠብቁ የኮቪድ-19 ክትባትን ይውሰዱ
➔ 保护您的家人– 接种新冠19疫苗
➔ Bảo vệ Gia đình Quý vị Chủng ngừa COVID-19

CHPW hosted a virtual expert panel to answer questions and dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. Here is the full recording of the talk held on Zoom on March 31.

Conversación En Español

Conversation in English

What does “fully vaccinated” mean?

You are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after you get your second shot if you had to get two doses (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks after you get a single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated.

If you’re not fully vaccinated yet:

  • Find a COVID-19 vaccine!
  • Wear a well-fitted mask and stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart in all public places.
  • Keep gatherings small and outdoors or indoors with the windows open.
  • Wear masks and stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart if you’re gathering with other people who are not yet vaccinated.
  • If no one in your household is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, you can visit with one fully vaccinated household without masks and physical distance.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you’re experiencing symptoms or know you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Continue to avoid travel unless it is essential. If you do travel, get tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling and quarantine for seven days after traveling.
What should I keep doing once I'm fully vaccinated?

Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you should still:

➔ Life After Vaccine FAQs

What can I start doing once I'm fully vaccinated?

Once you’re fully vaccinated, you:

  • Can visit with other fully vaccinated people without physical distancing or wearing masks.
  • Can visit with people who haven’t been vaccinated and are from one other household who are all at low risk for severe COVID-19 illness – indoors without physical distancing and wearing masks.
  • Can travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel test. And you don’t need to quarantine.
  • Do not need to quarantine or get tested after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 if you have no symptoms.
  • Should treat your vaccination paper card like a birth certificate or other official document! Take a photo of it and then store it at home. In the future, you may need to prove you’re vaccinated against COVID-19. Even now, many businesses are offering perks to vaccinated people.
  • Should keep an official proof of vaccination with you. See examples here: Visual Guide to Official Washington State Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination (PDF)

➔ Gathering Safely Once Vaccinated

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Washington Department of Health, American Academy of Family Physicians, National Association of Community Health Centers, CNN

 

What We’re Doing to Help

Our team is supporting:

  • Community members and patients by helping individuals access health care in their communities, connecting local families and their loves ones with resources, and reaching out to more than 40,000 Washingtonians to ensure their essential needs are being met during the crisis.
  • Healthcare providers by leading outreach and communications efforts about COVID-19, assisting in the delivery of telehealth services, and working with providers to ensure uninterrupted care for Washington’s most underserved communities.
  • The broader community by participating in food drives, volunteering with local nonprofits, doing community service, and sharing their healthcare expertise, including tips for promoting positive mental health during the pandemic.

We are also supporting the following legislation and legislative priorities:

  • Passage of additional COVID-19 relief packages available to immigrant and refugee families.
  • Congressional reauthorization of the Community Health Center Fund.
  • Prohibition of ICE activities in and around healthcare facilities.
  • Financial support for translation services that ensure immigrant and refugee families receive the care they need.

Additional Resources

 


Reviewed on 4/12/2021