Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department

Although the pace has slowed, we’re still making progress. As of May 10, close to half (46.99%) of all Whatcom County residents have gotten their first dose, and more than a third (35.71%) are fully vaccinated.

This week, Whatcom County providers are due to receive 1,870 first doses and 3,840 second doses. For more information, check out our infographic below. 

May 11 Whatcom County Vax Progress Infographic

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, now is an excellent time to do it. Lots of appointments are available in the county, and many locations are offering walk-in appointments. It’s never been easier to get vaccinated. We’re seeing rising cases and hospitalizations, so please don’t delay your vaccination. It only takes 20 minutes to protect you, your friends and your family from COVID-19. 

Community Vaccination Center Update

Walk-ins are now welcome at the Community Vaccination Center. You’re still advised to make and keep an appointment if you can, but if you find yourself with 20 minutes to spare on a Tuesday or Thursday night, or between errands on a Saturday, stop on by! 

Walk-ins will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis. If you make an appointment, your spot is guaranteed. To make an appointment, click any of the links below to be taken directly to the sign-up page for that day’s clinic. 

Right now the CVC is not offering the Pfizer vaccine, so only people who are 18 or older can be vaccinated. 

One-Time Vaccination Clinics and Other Walk-In Options

There are a couple of COVID-19 vaccination events happening this weekend that you won’t want to miss. 

  • The one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available today at Depot Market Square in Downtown Bellingham on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • If you live in East County, there’s a clinic near you tomorrow! Hoagland Pharmacy is hosting a Johnson & Johnson clinic at Kendall Elementary School starting at 1 p.m. Call 360-599-3944 to make an appointment. 

If you find yourself with 20 minutes to spare and would really like to get vaccinated, but none of the options above will work for you, no worries! Lots of local vaccine providers currently offer COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment. Those providers include: 

  • Costco
  • Haggen on 12th Street (if scheduled vaccine appointments are not full)
  • Haggen in Ferndale (if extra doses are available)
  • Haggen on Meridian
  • Haggen on Woburn 
  • PeaceHealth Community Vaccination Center 
  • Safeway in Bellingham (if extra doses are available)
  • Walgreens (call first to check availability)

Go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov for a complete list of local vaccine providers. 

Free Rides to Vaccine Appointments

If you’ve struggled to get vaccinated because you haven’t been able to arrange transportation, Lyft or Uber may be able to help. The rideshare giants are offering free rides to vaccine appointments.

To get a ride, first call DOH at 1-833-VAX-HELP. You’ll be connected with a specialist who will help you arrange a ride. Anyone with transportation barriers is encouraged to make use of this service while it’s offered – so if you’d like a ride, call today! Learn more about DOH’s partnership with Uber and Lyft

You can also get a free ride to your vaccination appointment through local public transit. All WTA fares are currently free. Learn more and plan your trip at RideWTA.com

If you have Apple Health, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) will help you with transportation. And this service isn’t just for COVID-19 vaccination – you can get a free ride to any non-emergency medical appointment. To arrange for a ride from, contact the Northwest Regional Council at 1-800-860-6812. For more information, check out this HCA handout

Pfizer Vaccine Is Expected To Become Available For Adolescents This Week

Good news! Adolescents between 12-15 years may soon be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine – as long as it’s the Pfizer brand. The FDA authorized the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BIONTech for emergency use by adolescents yesterday. The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) meets tomorrow to review the clinical data and consider this authorization. Once they vote to approve use of Pfizer for adolescents and the Western States Pact agrees, the vaccine will then be made available for adolescents in Washington. 

The other vaccines currently in use in the United States, made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are still only available for adults over the age of 18. Eligibility for these vaccines may expand to include teens and adolescents once more testing has been completed. 

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is becoming available to adolescents and teens after extensive testing. Results from Pfizer-BIONTech’s Phase 3 trials for adolescents demonstrated 100% efficacy ratings, according to the company’s announcement on March 31 this year, higher than in any other previous age group tested. 

Learn more about FDA’s Authorization for Emergency Use here

Weekly Vaccine MythBusted: The COVID-19 vaccine is actually gene therapy and it will alter my DNA

A persistent rumor swirling around the internet claims the COVID-19 vaccine has the power to alter your DNA. The basis of this rumor has its roots in confusion over the mechanics of one type of COVID-19 vaccine.

There are two types of vaccines currently in use in the United States: viral vector vaccines, like Johnson & Johnson’s, and mRNA vaccines, which are made by Pfizer and Moderna. The mRNA vaccines, short for messenger RNA,  contain building instructions for the part of the COVID-19 molecule that’s responsible for attaching to our cells: the spike protein. Your cells use these instructions to build antibodies that prevent COVID-19’s spike proteins from getting a foothold on our cells, saving us from infection. Once the mRNA has delivered the instructions, it is quickly broken down and eliminated by your cells. 

Each of your cells contains a strand of DNA inside of a nucleus. The mRNA found in Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus and doesn’t mess with your DNA. All it does is teach your cell how to ward off COVID-19. 

Researchers have been studying with and working with mRNA vaccines for decades, but to the layperson, the science behind DNA and mRNA can be confusing. Anti-vaccination advocates take advantage of this confusion to advance baseless claims that only sound scientific. Don’t let them fool you. Do your own research, and make your own educated choice. The CDC is a good place to start your research

How mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Work

More Information

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine planning, and vaccine safety can be found on the DOH’s COVID-19 vaccine web page at www.covidvaccinewa.org. For information about COVID-19 vaccination in Whatcom County, visit our webpage at www.whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine

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