COVID-19 Vaccines in Washington: What You Need to Know
COVID-19 vaccines are here! On this page, you’ll find resources and information about how the vaccines work, as well as Washington’s plan to distribute them.
To get started, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) has answered a few frequently asked questions:How are COVID-19 vaccines made?
How is the vaccine administered?
COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses, several weeks apart. The first dose starts building protection, but the second dose is required a few weeks later to provide the most protection. When the first dose is given, more information will be provided about when to get the second dose.
When will I get the vaccine?
The state of Washington will give out the vaccine starting with communities who are most exposed to COVID-19 and/or most at risk of getting seriously ill. Visit findyourphasewa.org to see if it’s your turn to get vaccinated.
As of 1/18/2021, we’re in Phase 1B tier 1 of the vaccine rollout. In this phase, the following groups will be prioritized to get the COVID-19 vaccine:
- All people over 65
- People over 50 who live in households with people from other generations (such as children or grandchildren)
This is in addition to groups eligible during phase 1A that include:
- High-risk workers in health care settings
- High-risk first responders
- Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based living settings where most people over 65 years of age are receiving some form of care
For a more detailed look at who qualifies for Phase 1A and 1B vaccination, see this PDF:
After these people have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Washington will start to vaccinate other groups. For a timeline of Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, see this PDF:
Where can I get the vaccine?
Sea Mar Community Health Centers are offering COVID-19 vaccines for eligible patients on a walk-in basis. You must arrive at the clinic before 3pm in order to receive the vaccine that same day. The following Sea Mar clinics currently have vaccines:
• Aberdeen Medical
• Elma Medical
• Everson Medical
• Federal Way Medical
• Marysville Medical
• Monroe Medical
• Mt. Vernon Medical
• Ocean Shores Medical
• Olympia Medical
• Puyallup Medical
• Vancouver Medical – East Vancouver
• Vashon Island Medical
Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) can also help you find out where to get vaccinated. Call Customer Service at 1-800-440-1561 (TTY: 711), Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or use our Find a Doctor tool.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines have been through all the clinical trials and tests that the United States government uses to ensure safety.
You may have heard that the COVID-19 vaccines were expedited (rushed). So how can they still be as safe as other vaccines? The reason is that the two parts of making vaccines, testing and production, are usually done one at a time. But for the COVID-19 vaccines, they were done together—so we can have vaccines that are safe in a shorter timeframe.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?
Many vaccines, like the ones for measles and the regular flu, are made with weakened or inactive versions of the viruses they fight. They won’t make you sick. They contain just enough of the original virus to teach your body how to fight off an active version.
The approved COVID-19 vaccines are different. They are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. They deliver genetic messages to your body, teaching it to build a protein found in COVID-19. This protein is harmless by itself. But when your body learns to fight it, you’re also learning how to fight COVID-19—without the virus ever being introduced to your body.