COVID-19: Vaccine update

Visit the DOH Prioritization Guidance Webpage to check vaccine eligibility. Eligible ICHS patients, call 206-788-3700 to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment today. If you are not an ICHS patient, please don’t contact our call center. Your appointment must be made online.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been paused nationwide. Click here to learn more.

Thank you for your interest in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Due to a limited — but growing — supply, the vaccine is being rolled out in phases starting with those most at risk for COVID-19 infection. An organized and equitable distribution of a vaccine is the first step to getting the pandemic under control. ICHS is working with public health and community partners to ensure we get as many doses as possible to as many people as possible. 

Visit the DOH Prioritization Guidance Webpage to see if you are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine appointments are currently for eligible for anyone who lives or works in Washington State. ICHS is offering COVID-19 appointments to people 18+.

We each have a responsibility to ensure that those around us are protected and we help reduce COVID-19 transmission by being vaccinated. This is the only way we can halt the pandemic and ensure the health of our family members, friends and neighbors.

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.

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 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines 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 COVID-19 vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and will be free if you are uninsured.

The first two COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA, Pfizer and Moderna, both require two shots. The first shot starts building protection. The second one acts as a “booster” to give the most protection. A third vaccine by Johnson & Johnson requires just one shot.

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.

ICHS is following the CDC and FDA recommendation for a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. ICHS continues to work with public health and community partners to administer Moderna vaccines to protect patients and community members.

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.

 

The CDC and FDA recommending a pause in the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. This pause in administering the Janssen vaccine reflects an ongoing process to keep safety as a top priority when it comes to all COVID-19 vaccines.

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.

Over 6.8 million American 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. 

However, you should look out for these symptoms: a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination. Contact your health care provider if you experience these.

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.

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. Read here and here to learn more.

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 Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, which both require two doses, the CDC advises against getting the second dose. 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. 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 to years but is not indefinite. People who have had COVID-19 are advised to get the vaccine because they could still be reinfected and could still possibly infect someone else.

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

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% 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 6 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.