Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department
We’re really close to hitting the Governor’s target for early reopening, Whatcom. Keep it up! As of June 7, 66.31% of everyone 16 and older has started vaccination. That brings the entire county’s initiation rate to 54.83%. But the good news doesn’t stop there. Nearly half (48.14%) of the entire county is fully vaccinated.
This week, vaccine providers in Whatcom County are due to receive 550 doses, although this number is not final and is expected to increase.For more information, check out our infographic below.
The surge in our local vaccination rate is thanks to the inclusion of Lummi Tribal Health Center’s vaccination data. Since the beginning of the vaccination effort, the Lummi Nation has generously shared their supply of vaccine with the broader community. Now their efforts have helped us get much closer to the Governor’s 70% vaccine initiation benchmark for reopening before June 30.
Since the Lummi Nation, like other tribal governments, gets their vaccine supply directly from the federal government, separate from the state pool that Whatcom County draws from, the Lummi Tribal Health Center wasn’t required to share their vaccine data with the state. Instead, they store their vaccination data in a federal vaccination data system called Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). The state’s data collection system for vaccination data is called the Washington State Immunization Information System (WAIIS).
Lummi Nation still isn’t required to share their data with WAIIS, but they’ve volunteered their data to help our county and state reach the 70% threshold – and just in time to help everyone they’ve vaccinated sign up for the state’s Shot of a Lifetime giveaway series! Thanks a TON, Lummi Nation!
The Nooksack Tribe has also been an integral partner in our county’s vaccination effort, sharing their vaccine supplies with the rest of the community even when supplies were scarce and uncertain. We are currently working with the Nooksack Tribe to figure out the logistics of sharing their data.
Community Vaccination Center Update
The CVC will suspend operations on June 17 as local vaccination providers adjust their strategy to focus on smaller mobile and pop-up clinics. The final clinic dates and times are posted below. You may click any of the links below to be taken directly to the sign-up page on PrepMod. All clinics will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Moderna will be offered for people needing their second dose only.
- Tuesday, June 8, 4-6pm.
- Thursday, June 10, 6-8pm.
- Saturday, June 12, 10am-noon.
- Wednesday, June 16, 10am-2pm.
- Thursday, June 17, 10am-2pm.
Many thanks to our partners, who helped make the CVC possible: Bellingham Technical College, Unity Care NW, Whatcom Unified Command, Family Care Network, PeaceHealth, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Hoagland Pharmacy, and Whatcom Community College. Together, we’ve given more than 8,700 shots to date!
Pop-up Vaccination Clinics and Other Walk-In Options
There are two COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Bellingham offering the Moderna vaccine this week! Walk-ins are welcome at both, but if you’d like to make an appointment at either you can sign up on PrepMod.
- Friday, June 11, 5-7pm at Lost Giants Cider Company, 1200 Meador Avenue.
- Saturday, June 12, noon-2PM at Kulshan Brewing Company (K2), 1538 Kentucky St.
There are lots of other local vaccine providers that currently offer COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment. Those providers include:
- 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. You can also text your zip code to GET-VAX (438-829) or VACUNA (822-862) to find a provider near you.
Cash, Cars, and Sweet, Sweet Immunity
Once upon a time, people crashed phone lines, drove across the state and stood in line for hours to get vaccinated for COVID-19. But those dark days are over! It’s super easy now. Many providers don’t even require appointments, and it’s still 100% free. Not only is it free, but now you could earn an XBox, a brand new car, SeaHawks tickets or $1 million just for getting vaccinated!
Last week, the Governor announced a host of new incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated, including 4 weekly cash drawings for $250,000 and one drawing for $1 million! In addition to the cash drawings, hundreds of other prizes will be given away to vaccinated individuals, including:
- Assistance with tuition and other education expenses
- Sports tickets and gear
- Gaming systems, smart speakers and other electronics
- And much, much more
If you’re already vaccinated, good news! You’re already in the drawing. Just go to MyIR Mobile or Washington MyIR to double-check and make sure the state has your vaccination record (most likely they do, vaccine providers are required to enter your data into WAIIS immediately after you’re vaccinated). If for some reason it isn’t recorded, call your vaccine provider and ask them to send a copy to your primary care provider, then call your primary care provider and ask them to upload your record into WAIIS.
If you haven’t yet been vaccinated – don’t delay! You don’t want to miss out on the chance to win these wonderful prizes.
There’s some local incentives in the works, too. The Chuckanut Health Foundation is organizing a drawing to encourage vaccine initiation in Whatcom County. The winner will be awarded a credit of $60,000 to purchase a vehicle of their choice from local auto dealers!
This drawing will only be open to those who begin vaccination between June 1 and July 31. The winner will have to show proof of full vaccination before they can accept the award. The Chuckanut Health Foundation is still working out the sign-up details for this contest, so stay tuned! We’ll share the details with you once we have them.
Weekly Vaccine MythBusted: Magnetism
If you feel drawn to the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s because you’ve heard of all the protection it offers you against COVID-19, not because it’s literally magnetic.
One of the latest myths circulating the internet claims the COVID-19 vaccine is magnetic, and that magnets can attach to your arm at the injection site. That hasn’t stopped some people from trying to spread this myth by posting fake videos online, showing magnets stuck to their arms after vaccination.
While it is possible to attract a magnet by taping a piece of metal to your arm with a bandaid, it’s not possible to draw a magnet from COVID-19 vaccination alone. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use contain any metal components.
As anyone who’s been vaccinated can tell you, their arms haven’t turned magnetic after vaccination. Don’t believe them? Try it out. Get a magnet and try to attach it to your vaccinated friend’s arm. This may be the easiest myth to debunk that was ever constructed.
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.