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COVID-19 Vaccines at Unity Care NW

 

Unity Care NW is happy to have begun providing vaccinations to our patients but please note that the number of eligible patients far exceeds the vaccine supply at this time. While we anticipate this will improve over the upcoming months, we are currently prioritizing our most vulnerable community members first for vaccination. All patients should be able to receive the vaccine in the upcoming months. Vaccine supply remains low at UNCW. Please do not call to inquire about vaccine appointments. Our phone system is overwhelmed at this critical time. Appointments are required in order to receive a vaccination, but we are contacting eligible patients to schedule vaccinations as we continue to receive more vaccine. Thank you for your patience.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Most people should get vaccinated. The two vaccines that have been approved under an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for use in the U.S. have been proven very safe and are 94-95% effective in preventing you from getting COVID-19. The more people that get vaccinated, the safer our communities will be—and the quicker we can get to a better future. The groundbreaking cooperation between leading medical experts here in america and pharmaceutical companies globally has made a return to normalcy possible thanks to the COVID vaccines. More on why to get vaccinated here.

How will I know when I can get vaccinated?
The Washington State Department of Health has created a Phase Finder tool designed to help people in Washington find out if they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine now. You can also sign up to be notified when you become eligible.

Do I need to make an appointment to get the vaccine?
Yes, we will contact eligible patients to schedule vaccinations as we continue to receive more vaccine. Appointments will be required to receive the vaccine at Unity Care NW. This is to ensure that we’re delivering the vaccine in an orderly way to people who are eligible, and for the health and safety of people at the vaccination sites.

How much will a COVD-19 vaccine cost?
There is no out-of-pocket expense for COVID-19 vaccines.

Do I need a prescription for the vaccine?
A prescription for COVID-19 vaccine is not necessary or required. For additional information regarding eligibility requirements, check with Whatcom County Health Department website, and the CDC website. 

 

Where We Are Now

We are currently in Phase 1B tier 1 of vaccine distribution

The vaccine is available to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who live in a multigenerational household. This is in addition to health care workers, first responders, and people who live or work in long-term care facilities. Learn more about who gets the vaccine and when.

The COVID-19 vaccines being distributed are safe. They’re highly effective against serious disease and the emerging evidence about how they will work to stop the spread of COVID-19 looks very promising. When you’re eligible to get vaccine and there is supply available, you should get it. In the meantime, it is important to continue wearing your mask, maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more, and wash your hands.


Betty was the first patient to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Unity Care NW!

Find more COVID-10 related news and current information here.

Lose You Insurance? You Can Apply for Health Benefits Now!

A Special Enrollment Period for those who are currently uninsured begins on February 15, 2021 and runs through May 15, 2021.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange (WAHBE) will provide a special enrollment period (SEP) to extend the time frame for Washingtonians seeking health coverage. Health coverage is a necessary step to ensure the ongoing health, safety, and well-being of our community during the current pandemic.

What you need to know:

  • Current Washington Healthplanfinder enrollees are not eligible and may not change plans unless you have recently experienced a qualifying life event that allows for a plan change.
  • Enrollment follows the “15th of the month” rule. For example:
    • Enrollments that occur before the 15th of the month will have a coverage start date of the first day of the following month.
    • Enrollments after 15th of the month will have a coverage start date of the month after the next month – the second following month.

How to get started:

  • Call Unity Care NW’s Outreach & Enrollment at 360-788-2669 for help through the insurance process.

Building Healthy Relationships

From spending too much time with loved ones to not enough time with others, the pandemic has created new challenges for even the strongest relationships. Unity Care NW Behavioral Health Director and expert counselor, Grant Guiley offers insights, tips, suggestions, and information on how to build and keep healthy relationships with others during and after these challenging times.

Learn more about Unity Care NW and how to support our work from other UCNW staff attendees.

This on-line event took place on-line February 11, 2021, but the full presentation is available here.

Sponsored by: Community Health Plan of Washington, PeaceHealth, Chuckanut Health Foundation, and Storia Cucina.

 

Coping with COVID

View Unity Care NW’s class “Coping with COVID” here. Learn about resiliency, positive thinking, and other strategies for optimizing your mental health during the pandemic.  Contact megan.stephenson@ucnw.org or call 360-296-7185 for more info.

The class resource packet is available here.

Additional resources for taking care of your mental health:

  • The state of Washington has created a website which includes mental and emotional support resources for Washingtonians.  The Washington Listens program will provide supportive counseling to anyone who needs it during this heightened time of stress.  You can call as often and you want, and talk as long as you need. 1-833-681-0211.

 

 

Unity Care NW Participating in the “Point in Time Count”

Unity Care NW is supporting this year’s Point-in-Time count by hosting a survey station in front of our 220 Unity Street facility, now through February 5th. The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness and represents a snapshot of persons experiencing homelessness in Whatcom County.

Participation in the survey helps our community advocate for funding from the federal government to support housing and homelessness programs right here in Whatcom County.

Patients with appointments who are experiencing homelessness can stop by to be included in this year’s count!

Wellness Classes for the New Year!

New virtual classes to help address your health goals in the new year!

  • Freedom From Smoking is a 7-week on-line class to help you quit and stay tobacco free. We’ll talk about the science and emotion behind addiction, strategies for quitting, and focus on your own reasons for going tobacco free. Call Megan at 360-296-7185 for more info and to register. Class starts Jan. 19th, 2-4pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lose to Win is a sustainable nutrition and physical activity program led by a YMCA coach. The one-hour classes provide a supportive network to work on similar goals when the going gets tough and to celebrate successes along the way! Must be 18 or older. $35/YMCA members; $50 non-members; scholarships available. Register with Tara at tmarshall@whatcomymca.org. Wednesdays Jan. 20 – April 7, 12:15-1:15 pm
  • Better Bones & Balance is a program to help improve balance and strength to avoid falls and maintain independence. Class includes a short talk and learning and practicing specific exercise.
    $35 program fee, scholarships available. Register online whatcomymca.org or at the Welcome Desk. Tuesdays and Thursdays,  Jan. 19-28, 11am – noon.
  • Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long supportive class for adults at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Must be 18 or older, and qualify via risk assessment or diagnosis of pre-diabetes.
    $420 year program fee; Unity Care NW patient discount available, email megan.stephenson@ucnw.org to apply.
  • LIVESTRONG is a physical activity and well-being program for adult cancer survivors to reclaim their total health. Must be 18 or older, in remission, and with medical clearance for participation.
    Free to new survivors, $25/month for LIVESTRONG alumni; scholarships available. Register with Tammy at tbennett@whatcomymca.org or (360) 733-8630 Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 11-March 31 11am – noon.
     

Bellingham Food Bank Drive-Up Food Distribution

Beginning Tuesday, December 1, Bellingham Food Bank will offer pre-packed food boxes at the updated drive-up locations.

How It Works

Folks may visit twice per week and may choose among all locations which they visit. They will join a car queue and when it’s their turn, volunteers will offer pre-packed food boxes without requiring person to person contact. There will be a bike and walk-up option as well. Each household represented in a vehicle may pick up for up to 2 families. Menstrual products, baby formula and diapers will be added to distributed items as availability allows.

Starting December 1
Tuesdays & Thursdays | 1-4 pm
Drive-Up Distribution, 1175 Jersey St

Ongoing
Wednesdays | 3-6 pm
Christ the King Church Parking Lot, 4173 Meridian St

Flu Vaccines Now Available

Flu season is here! In a year like no other, now is the time to protect yourself and those around you. This year, with COVID-19, we face a double threat of illness. We can keep ourselves healthy, reduce the strain on our health care system, and save lives by getting a flu shot.

Flu vaccine is the best protection we have from flu and its complications. A flu shot will protect you throughout the flu season. (Inactivated flu vaccine does not contain live flu virus, so getting the flu from this vaccine is not possible.) Flu vaccine also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person.

Unity Care NW is now offering flu vaccinations to our medical patients by appointment, with convenient Saturday hours in Bellingham. Call (360) 676-6177 to make an appointment.

 

Pharmacy Changes: Curbside Pickup and Lobbies

There are now three ways to pick up your prescriptions:
  • Pharmacy Counters: Unity Care NW patients may now receive services in our Pharmacy lobbies. Lobby capacity is limited to 6 patients total (for both the pharmacy and Quest Labs) at our Bellingham Pharmacy and 4 patients total at the North Whatcom Health Center. When lobbies are at capacity, pharmacy patients can receive curbside service or wait for a pharmacy patient to leave and then enter the pharmacy. Those needing lab services can place your name and phone number on the Quest labs sign-in sheet and the Quest labs technician will call you when you can enter the waiting room. Everyone wishing to access both pharmacy and lab services must wear a mask and be successfully screened prior to entering the waiting room.  If you do not wish to be screened, you can receive curbside service.
  • Curbside pickup for Bellingham patients: Pharmacy curbside pickup hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you are arriving by car, park in one of three designated spots alongside the pharmacy building on Unity Street. If you are arriving on foot, find the walk-up curbside pickup sign in front of the pharmacy building. When you arrive, call the phone number posted on the sign (360-296-7190) and a pharmacy team member will process any payment by credit card and bring your prescription to your car. If you need to pay with cash or check, you will need to be screened and enter the pharmacy lobby. We ask that you wear a mask and not smoke when using curbside pickup.
  • Curbside pickup for North Whatcom Health Center patients: Pharmacy curbside pickup hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you are arriving by car, park in one of the two designated spots alongside the west side of the North Whatcom Health Center building. If you are arriving on foot, locate the “walk-up” curbside pickup location under the covered area near the main entrance. When you arrive, call the phone number posted on the sign (360-788-2684) and a pharmacy team member will process any payment by credit card and bring your prescription to your car. If you need to pay with cash or check, you will need to be screened and enter the pharmacy lobby.
    We ask that you wear a mask and not smoke when using curbside pickup.
  • Pharmacy Delivery: Limited pharmacy delivery service is available to Unity Care NW patients. For more information about our delivery option, click here.

It’s Time for the 2020 Census

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution directs government officials to conduct a Census of everyone living in the United States (not just citizens). This year’s Census is now underway. All households should have received official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:

  • Online
  • By phone
  • By mail

Completing the Census using one of these methods will prevent a visit to your home from a Census worker.

Here are a few important things to know about the Census:

  • There is no citizenship question. No one will be asked about their citizenship.
  • The Census involves basic questions about how many people live in your household and whether you own or rent. It shouldn’t take more than about 15 minutes to complete, probably less!
  • The Census results touch every aspect of our lives, affecting everything from where businesses locate to funding for schools, clinics and libraries; from the number of congressional seats and electoral college delegates we’re allotted to legislative boundaries and voting rights enforcement.
  • An incomplete count means our businesses, school districts, health care providers, nonprofits and governments will all be making decisions based on data that undercounts our population. The decisions will affect the next decade (until the next Census) — or for generations in the case of infrastructure.
  • For every person not counted, our county loses an estimated $25,000 over the 10-year period until the next Census.

During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask you for:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Money or donations
  • Anything on behalf of a political party
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers

To avoid scams related to the Census, click here. To learn more about the security of the information you provide, click here. For general information about the Census, click here.

If you haven’t yet provided your Census information, do it today!