COVID-19 Vaccine Information

HEALTH ALERT

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

We are working closely with federal and state partners to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in alignment with parameters outlined by the Washington State Department of Health. At this time, Phases 1A and 1B of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution is underway across Washington, including Samaritan Healthcare.

Who can get the vaccine during Phase 1A/1B?

Per the Washington State Department of Health, the vaccine is available to anyone over age 65, and all people over 50 who also live in a multigenerational household. This is in addition to populations eligible during phase 1A including health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19.

At Samaritan Healthcare, this includes any employee that may have direct interactions with patients, because we don’t always know if a patient is positive or negative when they come in for services. Including but not limited to: physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, medical assistants, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, environmental services, nutrition staff, reception, admitting, and health screeners.

Criteria for receiving the vaccine during Phase 1A may change. Visit the Washington Department of Health website for the latest information on who is eligible to receive the vaccine during this time.

How do I sign up to receive the vaccine?

If you qualify to receive a vaccine during Phase 1A or 1B, call 509-764-3335 to schedule an appointment at Samaritan’s drive-thru vaccine clinic.

Healthcare workers: Your appointment should be scheduled one or two days before your next scheduled shift. This is precautionary, in the event that you have pain at your injection site or any minor side effects. If you receive the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose must be scheduled for three weeks after receiving the first dose.

Vaccine appointments are available Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–12p.m. and 1:00 p.m. –5:00 p.m.

Where do I receive my vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed at Samaritan’s COVID-19 drive thru testing location on the north side of Samaritan Clinic on Pioneer. When you arrive, follow the signage leading to “Drive Thru Testing,” and let our team know you are scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines will only be administered if you have an appointment, and if you have filled out the COVID-19 Patient Consent Acknowledgement Form.

Healthcare workers: You must also bring your work badge with you as vaccine is in short supply, and we must adhere to the Phase 1A requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions
Timeline and Availability

When will I be able to receive a vaccine?

When a vaccine for COVID-19 is available, we will not have enough at first to offer it to everyone. Eventually there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it.

Two federal groups are working on recommendations for vaccine prioritization:

  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

The first phase of vaccination, called 1a, includes workers in healthcare settings that serve patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, along with staff and residents of long-term care facilities. The second phase, called 1 b, includes anyone over age 65, and all people over 50 who also live in a multigenerational household, such as grandparents caring for grandchildren.

We’ll know more about who will be vaccinated in later phases based on input and decisions made by ACIP. Getting vaccine to the people of Washington is a large, coordinated effort and the timeline for all eligible people to receive the vaccine will take many months to understand.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) required all states and territories to turn in an interim plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution on Oct. 16, 2020. These plans are living documents and will change over time as we learn more about the vaccines and figure out the most equitable way to protect people. See Washington State’s Plan.

Will people who have had COVID-19 be able to get the vaccine?

Per ACIP recommendations, individuals should get the vaccine if they have not had an active COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days prior to vaccination. Ultimately, if the vaccine was widely available, these people would get vaccinated as well. The only reason we’d wait 90 days is in the setting of limited vaccines where the thought is at least the person who just had COVID has some protective immunity and the vaccine is better served going to someone who has no immunity against the virus.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine when I get routine vaccinations?

There is limited data on safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine when given with other vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be given alone, at least 14 days (2 weeks) before or after you get any other type of vaccine.

How much will it cost to get vaccinated?

The federal government will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare providers may charge you an office visit fee, or a fee to give the vaccine. Health insurance most likely will cover these fees. DOH is working with other state agencies to address cost barriers for people who don’t have health insurance.

Safety and Effectiveness

How are COVID-19 vaccines made?

Watch this short video about how COVID vaccines are made.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work in my body?

The COVID-19 vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize the coronavirus. When you get the vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies (“fighter cells”) that stay in your blood and protect you in case you are infected with the virus. You get protection against the disease without having to get sick. Watch this short video about how the vaccine works to protect you.

Why is a COVID-19 vaccine going through research and testing so much faster than other vaccines?

Scientists are using a decade of investment in vaccine science research to help develop the vaccine for COVID-19. Since we’re in a pandemic, developing a new vaccine can go faster than normal. No steps are skipped, but some steps happen at the same time, like applications, trials, and manufacturing. Several COVID vaccines are being tested, as of November 2020. Each vaccine is going through more than one clinical trial. First with a small group of volunteers, then a couple hundred volunteers, then thousands of volunteers. After clinical trials, medical experts will examine test results and any side effects. If the vaccine works and is safe, it will get approved for distribution to the public. Washington state has joined other western states to do an additional expert review of the clinical trials results to make sure the vaccine is ready for distribution.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safety-tested?

All possible vaccine candidates are in various stages of testing in humans to ensure they are both safe and effective. We will watch the FDA approval process closely to make sure it is thorough and transparent. The department is committed to science and the need to critically evaluate these new vaccines for their safety and efficacy in an unbiased way before their use.

We will know more once those studies conclude. It’s typical for most vaccine candidates to not make it to the final stages of testing, so likewise, we do not expect 100% of all COVID-19 vaccine candidates to come to market.

If I get the COVID-19, do I still need to take other precautions?

Yes, even if you get vaccinated, we recommend you continue with the other prevention measures you’ve been doing, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and limiting gatherings. Many people in our state will need to wait months to get the vaccine, and masks and other prevention measures are still recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to people who are not yet vaccinated. We also want to remind you that it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

Side Effects

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus just before or just after vaccination.

What are the normal side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. The most common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph node

How do I treat side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your healthcare provider about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • Side effects are worrying you
  • Side effects do not seem to be going away after a few days

Are there any serious side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

There may be unexpected side effects or a small chance of a severe allergic reaction, which would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the vaccine. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

Are there long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Because the vaccine is new, it will take more time to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. However, at least 8 weeks of safety data were gathered in the vaccine clinical trials, and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.

More information

Where can I find more information?

For the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the following websites:

Watch this short video for tips on how to identify which information you can trust.

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