Thank you for your interest in the COVID-19 vaccine. ICHS is working with public health and community partners to ensure we get as many doses as possible to as many people as possible. An organized and equitable distribution of a vaccine is the key to getting the pandemic under control.
We each have a responsibility to ensure that those around us are protected and we help reduce COVID-19 transmission by being vaccinated and boosted. This is the only way we can halt the pandemic and ensure the health of our family members, friends and neighbors.
Unvaccinated people aged 6 months and older are 2.7 times more likely to test positive and 5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated with at least a primary series, according to the CDC. Unvaccinated people aged 5 years and older are 2.3 times more likely to test positive and 7 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to people vaccinated with a primary series and 1+ booster dose.
Dr. Lakshmi Deepa Yerram, ICHS chief medical officer, emphasizes the importance of vaccinating our youngest children against COVID-19. She also advocates that everyone who is eligible (ages 5+) get the updated bivalent booster.
You should follow CDC guidelines once you are fully vaccinated. To learn more about what to do to protect yourself and others once you've been fully vaccinated, visit the CDC website here.
FAQ – about vaccines
CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get an updated (bivalent) COVID-19 booster to help restore protection that has decreased since your last vaccine.
- People 5 years old should only receive an updated bivalent Pfizer booster
- People 6 years and older should receive an updated bivalent Pfizer or Moderna booster
- Get a bivalent booster at least 2 months after completing your last dose (primary series or monovalent booster)
After reviewing vaccine safety and effectiveness data, the CDC has found that “mixing and matching” a different booster shot from your original vaccination is safe and effective. For example, someone who was vaccinated with Moderna may choose to get a Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson booster.
CDC recommends that immunocompromised people complete their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines if they are 6 months and older, and if they are 5 years or older, get a booster.
- Pfizer-BionTech, age 6 months-4 years: you should receive 3 doses to complete your primary series. Second dose is given 21 days after the first; third dose is given at least 8 weeks after the second. A booster is not recommended at this time.
- Pfizer-BionTech, age 5+: you should receive 3 doses to complete your primary series. Second dose is given 21 days after the first; third dose is given at least 28 days after the second. A 4th dose of the updated bivalent booster given at least 2 months after 3rd dose or last booster.
- Moderna, age 6+: you should receive 3 doses to complete your primary series. Second dose is given 28 days after the first; third dose is given at least 28 days after the second. A 4th dose of the updated bivalent booster given at least 2 months after 3rd dose or last booster.
- Johnson & Johnson, age 18+: you should receive a dose of either Pfizer or Moderna to complete your primary series (2 doses). Second dose (Pfizer or Moderna) is given at least 28 days after the first (J&J). A 3rd dose of the updated bivalent booster given at least 2 months after 2nd dose or last booster.
- Novavax, age 12+: you should receive 2 doses to complete your primary series. Second dose is given 21 days after the first. A 3rd dose of the updated bivalent booster given at least 2 months after 2nd dose.
People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and who received COVID-19 vaccines not available in the United States should either complete or restart the recommended COVID-19 vaccine series, including a booster, in the United States. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider, or see the COVID-19 Interim Clinical Considerations.
People who were vaccinated outside the United States with a currently FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine or a World Health Organization (WHO)-emergency use listed COVID-19 vaccine and who have received all the recommended doses do not need any additional doses. People who received the first dose of an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses do not need to restart the vaccine series in the United States, but should receive the second dose as close to the recommended time as possible.
Some people who may have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not currently approved or authorized in the United States may be offered a complete FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series as follows:
- People who have not received all the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by WHO.
- People who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is neither approved or authorized by FDA nor listed for emergency use by WHO.
Limited data are available on the safety or efficacy of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine currently approved or authorized in the United States after receipt of a non-FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. The minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA-approved or non-FDA-authorized vaccine, or a WHO-listed vaccine and an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days.
Only people who have received all recommended doses of an FDA-approved, FDA-authorized, or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of public health guidance.
WHO has listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Astra Zeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines for emergency use.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines fully approved by the FDA work similarly. They cause the body to develop antibodies (fighter cells). A genetic code of a small part of the virus (the spike protein) is injected into the body; this is taken up by cells, which reproduce the protein. These are then recognized by the body as foreign proteins. The fighter cells work to get rid of the proteins, while creating a memory bank of these proteins to defend against future infection.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine works differently than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. A piece of genetic material from the virus’ spike protein is added into another virus. The modified virus enters a cell to put its DNA into the nucleus and give instructions to other cells. Your body reacts by producing antibodies. Your immune system cells then remember how to fight the virus.
The Novavax vaccine uses a telltale piece of the coronavirus: the notorious spike protein. All alone, the spike protein is harmless and can't cause COVID-19. When your immune system encounters the lonely spike protein, it produces antibodies against it. This gives you protection against future COVID-19 infection.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and will be free if you are uninsured.
Yes. You will not be asked for any proof of citizenship or residency.
No, the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, while using the same approach, are different from each other. So the second dose should be the same vaccine.
However, after reviewing vaccine safety and effectiveness data, in October 2021 the CDC has found that “mixing and matching” a different booster shot from your original vaccination is safe and effective. For example, someone who was vaccinated with two shots of Moderna may choose to get a Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson booster after waiting the recommended period of time after your initial series.
Yes. Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can:
- Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Get sick from COVID-19.
- Spread COVID-19 to others.
CDC recommends everyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Getting your infant, child or teen vaccinated can bring you one step closer to enjoying the activities you miss.
Children ages 6 months to 17 years can get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for children ages 6 to 17.
Children ages 6 months to 11 years receive smaller doses that contain the same ingredients as those given to adults and adolescents. The shots are administered with smaller needles appropriate for children.
Not getting a vaccination is more than an individual choice, it has a much wider impact on everyone’s health and wellbeing. It will make it harder to achieve herd immunity, a level of immunity that will prevent the virus from circulating in the community and protect us all. Without immunization, you place yourself at greater risk of severe illness or long-term health issues from COVID-19.
While getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection or immunity, the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you without having to be sick.
When you get the vaccine, you also help protect people in high-risk groups that might not be able to get vaccinated themselves, including members of your community, friends and family. In addition, getting vaccinated significantly reduces COVID-related hospital admissions, saving capacity for people with urgent non-COVID care needs.
Please bring a photo ID with your date of birth. You will not be turned away if you don’t have ID. If you have health insurance, bring your insurance card. Please wear a short-sleeved shirt or clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up.
If you are arriving for your second or third dose, please bring your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
FAQ – vaccine safety
Vaccine safety is a priority. All COVID-19 vaccines must go through a rigorous and multi-step testing and approval process before they can be used. They will only be approved if they pass safety and effectiveness standards. Many people took part in this testing to see how the vaccines offer protection to people of different ages, races and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. Vaccines will also be monitored for safety once they are given.
After a temporary pause, the CDC and FDA recommend vaccination with the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine resume among people 18 years and older. However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.
The Novavax vaccine went through the same intense safety testing process as any other vaccine, and it was found to be safe. Serious side effects after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.
Your arm may be sore, red or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a fever, fatigue, headache, chills, or muscle and joint pain. This is a natural response and a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is expected to do. It is working to build protection to disease. Vaccines will also be monitored for safety once they are given.
There have been extremely rare reports of individuals who experienced heart inflammation side effects after receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. These cases represent a fraction of a percent of those who have had a COVID-19 vaccine, and individuals usually respond well to treatment.
According to the FDA and CDC issued guidance last week for patients and medical professionals, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine recipients should seek medical attention if they have the following symptoms within a week after COVID-19 vaccination:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling a fast-beating, pounding heart rate
Read more at: https://www.ichs.com/news/pfiz...
COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. However, it does take time, and more people need to be vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue by an independent group of experts with the CDC. They will provide regular safety updates for our immediate action.
As of April 23, 2021, more than 8 million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and it’s proven to be a very safe and effective vaccine in preventing severe and fatal cases of COVID-19. You should expect to have side effects such as soreness in the arm, fever and a headache.
As of April 23, 2021, experts reviewing safety reports for this vaccine found 15 reports of women who got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and later developed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets.
These reports represent a reporting rate of 7 such events per 1 million vaccinations among women 18 through 49 years old and a rate of 0.9 per 1 million vaccinations among women 50 years and older. For all women, this is a rare adverse event. For men of all ages, the adverse event is even more rare. Reports show that symptoms of this adverse event started between 6 and 15 days after vaccination.
For three weeks after receiving the vaccine, you should be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a blood clot with low platelets. These include:
- Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Leg swelling
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site
Seek medical care right away if you develop one or more of these symptoms and report adverse events to VAERS.
If you were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, contact your vaccine provider to learn about additional vaccine eligibility.
No, the vaccine will not cause the COVID-19 illness. The vaccine is made up of only a part of the virus (the spike protein), just enough for the body to recognize as a foreign material to produce antibodies. For this reason, the vaccination cannot create a false positive COVID-19 test.
No, while the vaccine is made of a genetic material, it does not interact with the genome. It encodes for specific proteins (in this case the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus), which then gets decoded by the ribosome (protein making organelle/part of a cell) located outside of the nucleus where our genome is housed. mRNA in the cell is also degraded relatively quickly limiting long-lasting impact.
Please consider following the below guidelines before scheduling your vaccine. Regardless of if you have a history of allergic reactions or not, trained health care personnel will be onsite to monitor you for 15 minutes after the vaccination and can assist you should an allergic reaction occur.
Per CDC recommendations, do not schedule a vaccine if:
- You had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, both of which require two doses.
- You are allergic to PEG or polysorbate.
Consult your doctor if you have had an immediate allergic reaction to another vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, even if it was not severe.
You may still schedule a vaccine appointment if:
- You have had severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies.
- You have a history of allergies to oral medications.
- You have a family history of severe allergic reactions.
It is safe to be vaccinated if you have mild cold-like symptoms, but we ask you to reschedule if you have a fever.
Some people feel sick after vaccination. These symptoms are the same symptoms we get when we have the infection and are a sign of the body working hard to fight the infection and develop antibodies.
FAQ – vaccine effectiveness
Both the vaccines from Pfizer and from Moderna have two doses. After only one shot your protection might be around 50 percent. The second shot provides a boost that gives strong, long-lasting immunity. After both shots, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have 94 and 95 percent efficacy, respectively.
We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
Multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants are circulating globally and scientists are working to learn more about them. The current vaccines were designed around earlier versions of coronavirus, but scientists believe they should still work against new variants, although perhaps not quite as well.
We can expect variants to continue to emerge in the future as the virus evolves. Efforts are now underway to redesign the current vaccines to be a better match. In the future, we may need a new COVID-19 shot each year like we do with flu immunizations, to account for any changes in circulating viruses.
If you’ve had COVID-19, you have natural immunity that may last months, but is not indefinite. People who have had COVID-19 are advised to get the vaccine because they could be infected again and could still possibly infect others.
It will take about a week after the second shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for you to have the vaccine’s full protection. You will have full protection from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine one week after your shot.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently approved by the FDA require two shots to be fully effective. A third vaccine by Johnson & Johnson requires only one shot. The CDC says your second shot can be scheduled up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first and remain effective. If a delay occurs, there is no need to repeat the first shot again.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both work well, offering strong protection after two shots and over 90 percent protective across age groups and racial and ethnic groups. A third vaccine by Johnson & Johnson has been shown to offer strong protection but was paused nationwide by the CDC and FDA as of April 13 to examine data of reported six cases of adverse events. These six cases represent a fraction of a percent of the 6.8 million people in the United States who have received the Janssen vaccine.
The evidence is clear — you should get the first vaccine available to you instead of waiting for a particular one. This is the best way to protect yourself, as well as everyone else. Immunizing as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, will help us to reduce overall COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
A study suggesting the Pfizer vaccine was less effective among Asian Americans did not have not enough people participating from within those groups to give data for a firm conclusion. There is no reason to believe that any one vaccine is less effective among Asians and NHPI, AIAN or multiracial groups.
You should follow CDC guidelines once you are fully vaccinated. Continue taking precautions in public places by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often. To learn more about what to do to protect yourself and others once you’ve been fully vaccinated, visit the CDC website here.
FAQ – boosters
An updated/bivalent COVID-19 booster is a vaccine formula that both boosts immunity against the original coronavirus strain and also protects against the newer Omicron variants that account for most of the current cases. Updated boosters are intended to provide optimal protection against the virus and address waning vaccine effectiveness over time.
Booster doses will help provide continued protection against severe disease. Everyone 5 and older should receive a booster dose to stay up to date with their vaccinations. Certain populations, such as those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, may require additional doses to increase immunity. This is especially important with the rise of more contagious variants and cases of COVID-19 increasing across the United States.
No. The current COVID-19 vaccines we have in the U.S. are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against variants. However, public health experts are seeing reduced protection against mild and moderate COVID-19 illness, especially among high-risk populations. The updated/bivalent boosters were created to help boost immunity and provide better protection from some of the newer variants.
Please take your/your child’s vaccination card to the booster dose appointment so the provider can first confirm that the initial vaccine series was completed. If the card was lost, the provider can look up your record.
An additional dose is for immunocompromised patients who completed a 2-dose mRNA vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) but did not have a strong enough immune response.
A booster dose is given to enhance or restore protection and/or immunity after the initial vaccine series waned over time.
Anyone 5 years old can receive an updated bivalent Pfizer booster dose regardless of which vaccine they received as a primary series.
Anyone 6 years and older can receive an updated bivalent Moderna or Pfizer dose regardless of which vaccine they received as a primary series.
Children 6 months to 4 years are not eligible to receive a booster dose at this time.
You or your child are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving all recommended doses in the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination.
You or your child are up to date with COVID-19 vaccination when all doses in the primary series and all recommended boosters have been received, when eligible.
Yes. You or your child can get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. You do not need to schedule your child’s required school vaccinations or other recommended vaccines separately from COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 vaccine appointment is another opportunity to get you or your child caught up on all recommended vaccines.
Yes. People who are vaccinated and recently caught COVID can wait 3 months to get their next shot, according to CDC guidance. Studies have shown that waiting a few months after an infection to get boosted can result in a stronger immune response from the shot.
U.S. health officials believe the updated bivalent boosters will provide stronger and more durable protection against COVID-19 because the shots target the omicron BA.5 variant, whereas the old vaccines were developed against the original strain of the virus that emerged in 2019.
Visit the Public Health – Seattle & King County website for the latest information and updates about vaccine development and distribution.