COVID-19 Vaccine

Updated Jan 19, 2021 — Okanogan County has moved to Phase 1B Tier 1 of vaccine distribution. Phase 1B1 has been expanded to include anyone over the age of 65 and anyone over 50 who lives in a multigenerational household.

Those in Phase 1A1/1A2 are still eligible to receive the vaccine.

Phase 1A1/1A2 includes:

  • High-risk workers in health care settings and high-risk first responders

  • Residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Anyone working in a healthcare setting – such as on a hospital campus in any capacity

 

Phase 1B Tier 1 includes:

  • All people 65 years or older
  • All people 50 years or older living in multigenerational households
 
50 years old and living in a multigenerational household means:
  • you are 50 years of age or older and you have a member of an older generation living with you
  • you are 50 years of age or older and you take care of grandchildren who live with you
  • you are 50 years of age or older and live with someone of a younger generation who works outside of the home
 
The following example does not meet the criteria for vaccination in Phase 1B1:
  •  if you are 50 years of age or older and are the parent of a child who is still in grade school and no members of a younger generation work outside the home, you do NOT meet the ‘multigenerational household’ definition for Phase 1B1 and should await your appropriate phase to receive the vaccine.

     

If you are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B1, please sign up for an appointment at one of the following healthcare organizations:
 
Mid-Valley Hospital: does not have vaccine yet, currently taking names for pre-registration only
 

Not sure if you are eligible to receive the vaccine now? Click the PhaseFinder button to find out:

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COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

 

Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been extensively tested through large clinical trials to make sure they meet all safety standards. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) carefully reviewed data on the vaccine and have determined that (1) the vaccines are safe and (2) the benefits outweigh potential risks.

This Phase Finder tool will help you determine if you are eligible to receive the vaccine now.

Okanogan County is following Washington State’s COVID-19 vaccine phases timeline. We are in Phase 1B Tier 1 of vaccine distribution, which includes all workers in healthcare settings and everyone over the age of 65:

  • High-risk workers in health care settings and high-risk first responders

  • Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings where people over 65 are getting care or assistance.
  • All workers in healthcare settings

 

Phase 1B1 includes:

  • All people 65years or older
  • All people 50 years or older who live with young children
50 years old and living in a multigenerational household means:
  • you are 50 years of age or older and you have a member of an older generation living with you
  • you are 50 years of age or older and you take care of grandchildren who live with you
  • you are 50 years of age or older and live with someone of a younger generation who works outside of the home
 
Multigenerational does NOT mean:
  •  if you are 50 years of age or older and are the parent of a child who is still in grade school and no members of a younger generation work outside the home, you do NOT meet the ‘multigenerational household’ definition for Phase 1B1 and should await your appropriate phase to receive the vaccine.
 
Phase 1B2 includes (estimated spring/summer 2021):
  • High risk critical workers over the age of 50: teachers, food and agricultural workers, US Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers.
 
Phase 1B3 includes (estimated spring/summer 2021):
  • People 16 years or older with two or more underlying health conditions
 
Phase 1B4 includes (estimated spring/summer 2021):
  • High risk critical workers under the age of 50: teachers, food and agricultural workers, US Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers
  • People, staff, volunteers in congregate living settings

The Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) vaccine distribution plan is updated regularly here.

Currently, those in phase A1/A2 can receive the vaccine at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket or Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster.

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. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency who regulates the vaccine process to make sure it is safe, declared both of these vaccines safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. They were both given an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and are being used to immunize people across the country as of mid-December.

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.

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.
  • Water

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
  • Salts
  • Sugar
  • Water

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines DO NOT include any of the following:

  • Fetal material
  • DNA
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood products
  • Preservatives, like thimerosal
  • Gluten
  • Egg proteins
  • Pork products
  • Microchips
 

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. Health care providers may charge you an office visit fee, or a fee to give the vaccine. Health insurance most likely will cover these fees.

Per guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), providers should still give the vaccine regardless of whether the patient can pay.
The WA Department of Health is working with other state agencies to figure out how to give the vaccine to people who don’t have health insurance.

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:

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Do you have a question about the vaccine?

Ask us here and we’ll include it in our updates.

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