COVID-19: Vaccine update

COVID-19 vaccine appointments now open. Please call 206-788-3700 for an immediate appointment if you are an ICHS patient eligible through DOH PhaseFinder.

Thank you for your interest in the COVID-19 vaccine. We are currently offering vaccine appointments to ICHS patients and community members who qualify through the DOH PhaseFinder tool.

  1. Eligible ICHS patients, please call 206-788-3700 for an immediate appointment. Do not schedule your appointment via our appointment page.
  2. Eligible community members who are not ICHS patients. A limited number of appointments are open on a first-come, first-served basis based on our available vaccine supplies. We suggest you check our appointment page here frequently.

We each have a responsibility to ensure that those around us are protected and we help reduce COVID-19 transmission by being vaccinated. However, it’s important to remember that even after vaccination you must continue to wear a mask around others, stay at least 6 feet away, avoid crowds and wash your hands often. We must use every tool to prevent infection until enough people have immunity to the virus to prevent its spread. This is the only way we can halt the pandemic and ensure the health of our family members, friends and neighbors.

Our state’s timeline

The DOH has released a timeline that will help you understand which priority group you belong to and when it will be your turn to get the vaccine. This timeline is just an estimate and could change based on state and federal vaccine supplies. See the estimated timeline.

FAQs: About Vaccines

The two vaccines approved by the FDA work similarly. They cause the body to develop fighter cells called antibodies. 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 COVID-19 vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and will be free if you are uninsured.

Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines being studied in the United States require two shots. The first shot starts building protection, but everyone has to come back a few weeks later for the second one to get the most protection the vaccine can offer.

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. When you get the vaccine, you also help protect people in high-risk groups that might not be able to get vaccinated themselves.

Children below age 16 have not been included in the trials and are not considered a priority at this juncture.

Yes. You will not be asked for any proof of citizenship or residency.

Please bring a photo ID with your date of birth. You will not be turned away if you don’t have an ID. If you have health insurance, bring a copy of your insurance card. Please wear a short-sleeved shirt or clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up.

FAQs: 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.

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.

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.

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 is 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.

Yes, you can receive COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though pregnant and breastfeeding women were not included in the clinical trials, experts support vaccination to prevent infection.

If you have had an immediate allergic reaction — even if it was not severe — to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe. If you have a severe allergic reaction to the first shot, the CDC advises not to get the second one. The CDC also recommends that people who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get a COVID-19 vaccine.

People with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications — such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies — should get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.

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.

FAQs: Vaccine Effectiveness

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.

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.

You will still need to practice precautions like wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing and other hygiene measures until many more people are vaccinated. This is because there’s still a chance you could pass the virus to someone else even though you don’t get sick yourself.

Multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants are circulating globally and scientists are working to learn more about them. Early research with the Pfizer vaccine suggests it remains effective. While these variants appear to spread more easily from person to person, there is no evidence they cause more severe illness or increase the risk of death.

If you’ve had COVID-19, you have natural immunity that may last months to years but is not indefinite. People who have had COVID-19 may be advised to get the vaccine because they could still be reinfected and could still possibly infect someone else.

Both the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and from Moderna have two doses. After only one dose your protection might be around 50%. The second dose provides a boost that gives strong, long-lasting immunity. After both doses, both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have 94% and 95% efficacy, respectively.

It will take about a week after the second dose for you to have the vaccine’s full protection.

Both of the vaccines currently approved by the FDA require two doses to be fully effective. Make sure you get your second dose. The CDC recommends getting your second dose as close to the recommended date as possible but also says your second dose can be scheduled up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose and remain effective. If a delay occurs, there is no need to repeat the first dose again.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both work well, offering strong protection. Both vaccines appear to be more or less equally protective across age groups and racial and ethnic groups.

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.