COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Updated April 15, 2021
UPDATE: Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused.
Read the News Release here.
Please select ‘Moderna’, ‘Pfizer’, or ‘no preference’ for quickest access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 years and older, while Moderna is approved for those 18 years and older.
North Valley locations (Tonasket/Oroville) are the only locations offering the Pfizer vaccine, all other locations offer the Moderna vaccine.
Anyone 16 years and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on April 15. Click above to register now, and you’ll be notified of available vaccine appointments!
How will you be notified? You will need either an email address or a phone number that receives text messages. If you do not have computer access or need help registering, please call the COVID-19 registration line at 1-866-458-0169 for assistance in English or Spanish.
Where will you get vaccinated? You can select where you’d like to get your vaccine: North, Mid, South county; the Methow Valley, or no preference. Selecting ‘no preference’ will give you the quickest access to vaccine appointments.
Why is Okanogan County using a centralized registration tool? This site will help Okanogan County distribute the vaccine as efficiently as possible.
Thank you! The vaccinating hospitals and clinics in the county have teamed up to bring this centralized system to residents. Healthcare providers will now use this site to schedule vaccine appointments. Thank you to North Valley Hospital, Three Rivers Hospital, Mid -Valley Hospital and Clinic, Family Health Centers, and healthcare partners AeroMethow, LifeLine Ambulance, Okanogan Douglas Fire District 15, Okanogan County Emergency Management, and Okanogan County Public Health.
Questions about the registration system or your appointment?
COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been approved through the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) program. An EUA is granted during a public health emergency and is different than an FDA approval (licensure) of a vaccine.
Read more about the FDA’s process here.
Everyone 16 years and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 15.
Everyone 16 years and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 15.
North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster, Family Health Centers in Twisp, Brewster, Tonasket and Mid-Valley hospital in Omak are all taking vaccine registrations for those eligible to receive the vaccine in the current phase.
Many different pharmaceutical companies are working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Two companies, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, were the first to successfully develop vaccines that have been proven to be safe for humans, and Johnson & Johnson was the third. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency who regulates the vaccine process to make sure it is safe, declared these vaccines safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. They were given an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and are being used to immunize people across the country.
The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines work in the same way. They are mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines, which means the vaccine delivers, as a messenger, a piece of code that teaches the body how to make a protein called an antigen. This antigen itself is harmless, but it makes your immune system wake up and take notice.
Our immune system responds to the presence of the antigen by making antibodies. Once we have antibodies, the next time our immune system sees the foreign protein, it will launch a full response and will block or kill whatever has that antigen. This is basically how all vaccines work.
In the case of COVID-19, the antigen is a piece of the virus called ‘spike protein’. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines tell our immune system to make antibodies against spike protein, so that if we become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, our antibodies will recognize it and block or kill it before we can become ill with COVID-19.
It is recommended that you get your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days after the first dose, and the Moderna vaccine 28 days after the first dose, or as close as you can after those days.
For both Pfizer and Moderna, you can get your second dose up to 42 days after the first dose and still develop immunity to COVID-19.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose shot.
No. The vaccines do not contain live virus and there is no risk of becoming ill with COVID-19 from the vaccine itself.
The most common side effects of the vaccine are similar to many routine vaccines, including a sore arm, tiredness, headache, and muscle pain. Here’s some key data about symptoms from the vaccine that we have from clinical trials:
Among people younger than 55:
- About 80 percent of people reported pain at the injection site
- About half reported tiredness and headache
- Less than one-third (30 percent) reported muscle pain
Most side effects occur within two days of getting the vaccine and last about a day.
Side effects are more common among people 55 years or older than among those younger than 55
Side effects are more common after the second dose than the first dose.
The CDC encourages people who have already received the vaccine to participate in the V-Safe system; this is a voluntary smartphone tool that checks in on people by text after they get the vaccine. It allows them to report any reactions to the shots so that researchers can continually learn about side effects.
There are many benefits to getting the vaccine:
- Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 94-95% effective after 2 doses and will likely keep you from getting seriously ill, even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, especially people at risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
- COVID-19 infection can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you.
- The vaccine will help protect you by creating an antibody response to the virus, without having to experience sickness.
- COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
The combination of getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
You will need two shots, separated by 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna), to be fully protected from COVID-19 infection.
The first shot primes the immune system, helping it recognize a piece of the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response.
It is unclear right now if we will need repeat vaccinations each year, like the annual flu vaccine.
The Pfizer mRNA vaccine includes:
- mRNA – This mRNA is for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Lipids – These are molecules that are not able to dissolve in water. They protect the mRNA, so that it does not break down before it gets into our cells. These can be thought of as little “bubbles of fat,” which surround the mRNA like a protective wall. There are four different lipids in the Pfizer vaccine: cholesterol; ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl) azanediyl)bis (hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate); ALC-0159 = 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide; and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine. The lipids are the most likely components of the vaccine to cause allergic reactions.
- Salts – The vaccine contains four salts. One is table salt. The salts are used to keep the pH of the vaccine similar to that found in the body, so that the vaccine does not damage cells when it is administered.
- Sugar – This ingredient is literally the same as that which you put in your coffee or on your cereal. In the vaccine, it helps keep the “bubbles of fat” from sticking to each other or to the sides of the vaccine vial.
The Moderna mRNA vaccine includes:
- mRNA – This mRNA is also for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Lipids – There are four different lipids in the Moderna vaccine: cholesterol; PEG2000-DMG; 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC); and SM-102
The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines DO NOT include any of the following:
- Fetal material
- Blood products
- Preservatives, like thimerosal
- Egg proteins
- Pork products
People who have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the vaccine. Individuals who have had anaphylactic reactions in the past should talk to their doctor before receiving the vaccine.
Pregnant women should talk to their doctor before receiving the vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for people over the age of 16, and the Moderna vaccine has been approved for people over the age of 18.
Data on the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines show that the vaccines protect people from getting symptomatic COVID-19, but we don’t know if it prevents them from getting infected — which means we don’t know whether vaccinated people can spread the virus to others.
Until we know the answer, we have to assume that people who have been vaccinated can still transmit the virus to others, and we’ll need to keep wearing masks.
It takes 2-3 weeks for your body to build up antibodies after the second shot, so be sure to keep wearing a mask and taking all safety precautions after you’ve been vaccinated.
We don’t know yet if people can still transmit COVID-19 to others after they’ve been vaccinated. The CDC recommends that we keep following all safety precautions until we know more.
The federal government will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine and health care providers cannot charge you an office visit fee, or a fee to give you the vaccine. Whether or not you have health insurance, you will not be charged a fee for the vaccine.
It will be your choice to get the vaccine for COVID-19 or not. Washington is not currently considering any mandates for the vaccine, but employers could require it.
Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccine:
Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html
Washington State Department of Health. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/vaccine
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/making-vaccines/prevent-covid