COVID-19 Vaccines - Washington State Local Health Insurance - CHPW

COVID-19 Vaccines

What You Need to Know

Sharing the key information you need to keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe.

Recent Updates

Updated 11.19.21:

  • Booster shots:
    • ALL adults age 18 and older who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine for their primary series of shots (2 doses) are now eligible for a booster, according to CDC recommendations. Boosters are administered at least six months after the second dose.
    • Older adults (age 50 and older) and people with underlying medical conditions, who were already eligible for boosters, continue to be strongly encouraged to receive boosters before the holidays.
    • Adults age 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their primary vaccine (1 shot) continue to be eligible for a booster at least two months after their primary dose.
  • Youth ages 5-11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following the approval and recommendation by the CDC. Learn more about this important, no cost ($0) vaccine:
  • Now requiring proof of COVID vaccination for entry to activities and events (e.g., restaurants, football games) in King, Jefferson, and Clallam counties, as well as most spectator and sports events in WA.


Find the information you need, from sources you can trust. Links open in a new window/tab and take you to credible sources which are also noted at the bottom of this page.



Access for people who:

After Vaccination

If You’re Sick

Considerations for people who:

How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is provided free of charge $0 and available at many locations in Washington State. Assistance is also available if you have questions or need help finding an appointment.

Find a location near you:

  • Online: See real-time appointment availability and details to schedule. Available in more than 30 languages.
  • By phone: call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press #. Offers help scheduling an appointment, language access/interpretation, transportation assistance.
  • By text: text your zip code to 438-829 (GET VAX) or 822-862 (VACUNA)

Unable to travel? 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. To request home based vaccination, submit the home based vaccination form to the Washington State Department of Health. If you have questions, email [email protected].

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Click below for answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines in Washington State. You can also watch the video below to hear local experts answer questions and address common misunderstandings about the COVID-19 vaccines (recorded March 2021; also available En Español).

Safety and effectiveness

Are the vaccines safe?
  • 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.
  • All three vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additionally, the Pfizer vaccine is officially FDA approved.

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.

Are the vaccines effective?
Clinical trials have demonstrated that all COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19. Additionally, ongoing research provides growing evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines offer similar protection in real world conditions.

➔ View details about what the research is telling us about the effectiveness of the COVID vaccines

How can communities of color trust these vaccines?
  • The COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of volunteers of all races and ethnicities.
  • In the trials, the vaccines protected adults of different races, ethnicities, and ages from the virus.

What people of color should know about the COVID-19 vaccines, by Sherita Golden, M.D., M.H.S., vice president and chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine

Visit Join the Conversation to hear from doctors, nurses, and community health workers who identify as people of color.

EthnoMed at Harborview Medical Center has also compiled a directory of resources available in non-English languages.

➔ 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

Will I ever need to get tested for COVID again?
Yes, if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms. It is uncommon for fully vaccinated individuals to become sick with COVID-19 because the vaccines are highly effective. However, since none of the vaccines are 100% effective, a small proportion of vaccinated people may still become infected with COVID-19. As of April 2021, vaccine breakthrough has occurred in about 0.01 percent of Washington’s fully vaccinated population.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, find a COVID-19 Testing location near you.

What are breakthrough cases? What's the Delta variant
A breakthrough case occurs when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with the coronavirus. A fully vaccinated person who becomes infected may become ill and may spread the coronavirus to others.

The Delta variant is a strain that causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19/coronavirus). The Delta variant is highly contagious, and some data suggest the it might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.

Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way to keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe.

➔ Visit the CDC to learn more about breakthroughs and variants
➔ Read this Yale Medicine article explaining why vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and transmission

Side effects and special conditions

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.

Are there side effects?
After you get the COVID-19 vaccine, you may experience reactions that include tiredness, nausea, headache, sore muscles, chills, and fever. These may feel unpleasant, but they’re a sign that the vaccine is teaching your body how to protect itself against COVID-19. These symptoms should go away within a few days.

Learn more about possible side effects from the CDC ➜

You may have heard that the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) vaccine was paused for 11 days in April 2021 due to reports of a rare, but serious side effect. According to the CDC, this side effect occurs at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old, and this adverse event is even more rare for women 50 years and older and men of all ages. The CDC recommended that use of the J&J vaccine resume, effective April 23, 2021.

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) provides answers to frequently asked questions and 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.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused for 11 days in April 2021 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. 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.

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.

Can children get vaccinated? Isn't myocarditis a risk?
Youth ages 12-17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine*

Getting youth vaccinated is vital for families and communities. Ensure that everyone in your family can stay healthy, remain in the classroom, safely spend time with friends, and take part in activities they enjoy.

You may have heard about a small number o​f adolescents and young adults who experienced mild cases of heart inflammation (called myocarditis) after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Most recovered on their own or with minimal treatment and rest. Based on the latest evidence, myocarditis appears to be an extremely rare side effect. The CDC, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and other major medical groups, continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people 12 years and older.

Learn more about myocarditis and the COVID vaccine from a pediatrician ➜

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

Learn about the vaccine for youth from a local doctor ➜

Learn what local youth have to say about the vaccine ➜

Find a vaccine location.

*Note: When scheduling an appointment for a child, make sure the location you choose administers the appropriate vaccine for their age group. Parent or guardian consent is required.

What about people with other risk factors, allergies, or health concerns?
If you are unsure if COVID-19 vaccination is right for you, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic.

Please see the CDC’s recommendations for people with specific health or life conditions, such as older adults, people with allergies, and workers in certain fields.

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.
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.


How much will it cost? What if I don't have insurance?
  • Cost = $0. 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, from the place where you got your shot, or from your insurer. If you receive a bill for a COVID vaccine, report it here.
  • If a provider charges “administration fee” for giving you the vaccine, this fee will be charged to your health insurance plan, e.g., CHPW, or to the federal program which will pay the provider.
Can I get vaccine information in my language? Do I need to share immigration status, Social Security number, and/or government ID?
No. A provider may ask for immigration/citizenship status, Social Security number, and/or government ID, but they are not required to receive the vaccine.

You and your family members can get the care you need without fear. Testing, treatment, and vaccination for coronavirus will not count against you in a test of public charge.

Learn more about COVID and immigration status from the Northwest Justice Project ➜

Learn more about the COVID vaccine and immigration status from the WA Department of Health ➜

Sources: CDC, FDA, CNN, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, EthnoMed, Greater Than COVID, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Immigration Law Center, National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants, Northwest Justice Project, WA Department of Health, WA State Coronavirus Response, Yale Medicine

CHPW joins health care providers across the state in our commitment to supporting COVID-19 vaccination.
Band-Aid icon next to the letters SAVE, with the following below: SEEK, ASK, VACCINATE, EMPOWER


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