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COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Bellingham and Whatcom County

Bellingham Public Library has gathered information from multiple sources to help the public navigate the COVID-19 Vaccine availability within our community. Rollout of the vaccine is administered by the Washington State Department of Health, and locally by the Whatcom County Health Department. This information will continue to be updated regularly.

Vaccinations at Bellingham Technical College

The Community Vaccination Center located at Bellingham Technical College welcomes walk-ins. Appointments are still encouraged but no longer required for vaccination at any of the CVC’s three weekly clinics. The Community Vaccination Center (CVC) will suspend operations on June 17, 2021.

Appointments are still recommended. People who choose walk-in appointments will be vaccinated on a first-come, first-served basis, but people with appointments are guaranteed vaccination at their scheduled appointment times.  

“Now that supply has caught up with demand, we’re able to accommodate people who show up without an appointment,” said CVC Supervisor Debra Taylor. “So if you’re getting off work on a Tuesday or Thursday or out running errands on a Saturday with 20 minutes to spare and haven’t yet gotten vaccinated, stop on by! We’d be happy to serve you.” 

The CVC currently hosts three weekly clinics, with evening hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and daytime hours on Saturdays. The final two clinics at the CVC will be mid-day clinics focused on reaching students and employees of the various Whatcom County colleges, although they will be open to the general public. The clinics will be held on June 16 and June 17, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. These clinics will offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Appointments can be made at PrepMod.doh.wa.gov. People who need language assistance or have technology barriers can call 360-778-6075 to schedule an appointment. The phone line operates Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Many more local COVID-19 vaccine providers are also taking walk-ins. As of Monday, May 10, 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)

The CVC is a collaborative effort between Bellingham Technical College, Unity Care NW, Whatcom County Health Department, Whatcom Unified Command, Family Care Network, PeaceHealth, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Hoagland Pharmacy, and Whatcom Community College (WCC).

For more information about the Community Vaccination Center, visit VaccinateWhatcom.org

Nursing-students-in-office
Nursing students from Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College staffed the vaccination stations at the pilot clinic event.

General Information on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Check these sources for Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, including who is currently eligible, the cost, vaccine safety, versions available and other concerns.

  • Whatcom County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Information includes an overview of the vaccine phases, safety, and potential locations.
  • Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine page includes information on vaccine safety, and how vaccines work, as well as the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
  • PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions includes more indepth information about vaccine safety and availability through PeaceHealth.

How to determine eligibility status for the COVID-19 Vaccine

As of May 12, 2021 the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older following recommendations that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and extremely effective for 12 to 15-year-olds.

On May 10, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) amendment to expand the Pfizer vaccine to people 12 years and older.

“Expanding eligibility to this younger age group protects our children and gives families peace of mind. It is the best step we can take as parents to ensure our kids remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with friends, and take part in sports and extracurricular activities,” said Umair A. Shah. MD, MPH. “Research continues to show this vaccine is safe and I am thrilled it is now an option for parents and their young teens.”

The two-dose vaccine has been authorized for people 16 and older since December. In March, Pfizer announced findings from its vaccine trial which found the vaccine to be safe and 100% effective for kids as young as 12. The company reported the vaccine produced an antibody response in children that exceeded those in earlier trials of older teens and young adults.

Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus, get sick, and spread the virus to others. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill and may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breath. In rare cases, children can die.

COVID-19 vaccine side effects generally mirror those experienced by adults, which may include sore arm, fatigue, or headache. Families that have questions about the vaccine are encouraged to reach out to their child’s health care provider to determine the best option for them. Those under age 18 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.

When scheduling a vaccine appointment for someone 12 to 17, make sure the location you choose administers the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine currently authorized for people that age. If you have questions or need help scheduling an appointment, call the state’s new COVID-19 vaccination number 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available.

In addition to this expansion, Pfizer recently announced it plans to seek authorization for its vaccine for 2 to 11-year-olds this fall, and for children 6 months to 2 years old at the end of 2021. Earlier this month the company applied for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which would make Pfizer the first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. with this distinction. The FDA is expected to take several weeks to review the application.

Where to Find COVID-19 Vaccination locations in Whatcom County

Washington State has established an online map of Vaccine Locations. This tool allows you to find locations providing vaccines when supply allows. Scroll through the list of counties to find providers and retail pharmacies offering vaccines in Whatcom County. You are asked NOT to call these providers, but you can check availability through their websites. Some require an appointment, some do not.

Safe Behaviors Post-Vaccine

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has adopted the guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding post-vaccine behavior.

The CDC is quite clear that vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when they’re in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

If a vaccinated person has been around someone with COVID-19, they do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless they have symptoms. However, if a vaccinated person lives in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and is around someone who has COVID-19, they should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if without symptoms.

Regardless of vaccination status, people should still take steps to protect themselves and others while in public settings. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. In addition, people should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they’ve been around someone who is sick.