COVID-19 News

The latest information about COVID-19, Unity Care NW updates and available resources.

COVID-19 Vaccines

It’s easier than ever to find a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at Unity Care NW. Call 360-746-3098 for appointments, available Monday – Friday at both of our health centers in Bellingham and Ferndale.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge. There is no out-of-pocket cost for COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone over age 12 can receive a Pfizer vaccine.

More information is available here.

The state’s vaccine locator can also be used by anyone to find an available vaccination appointment locally.

 

Door Dash for the Vax Raffle

Patients who have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at Unity Care NW by July 31st will be automatically entered to win a $50 Door Dash food delivery gift card. Winners will be notified via text or phone call.

How to Access Your Vaccine Records

Due to COVID-19, vaccines seem to be on everyone’s mind these days. Along with COVID-19 vaccine questions, you may also be wondering: “What vaccines have I already had? Which vaccines do I still need to get? How can I find out if my kids have all their vaccinations for school?”

Another pressing question might be, “What do I do if I lose my COVID-19 vaccination card?”

TMost of your vaccine questions can be answered easily with the help of an online portal. Washington State offers an authorized service called MyIR Mobile which allows you to safely access your and your family’s immunization records online. It’s free, it’s official, and it’s secure. Once registered, you can access all of your vaccination records — including your COVID-19 vaccine records.

Learn more about MyIR here.

Will I need to get a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

With recent news on the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19, the Department of Health has seen an increase in questions around COVID-19 vaccine boosters. There have also been questions on if the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the US protect against COVID-19 variants.

There is no recommendation for a booster vaccine for any of the COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. at this time. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has research which suggests that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the US offer protection against most variants currently spreading in the U.S. However, there are some variants that might cause illness in some people even after they are fully vaccinated. The CDC is still collecting data in order to provide the best guidance for managing response to these variants.

Masking After June 30th

The Secretary of Health’s mask order remains in place even after June 30, which means that people who are not fully vaccinated need to continue to wear a face mask in public indoor settings even when things start to go back to normal as the state reaches a reopening milestone.

All people, regardless of vaccination status, are still required to wear masks in certain places, including at Unity Care NW.

Businesses and local authorities can set their own more protective mask requirements, even though some state restrictions are being lifted. Remember to respect the rules of the room you’re in, since those rules may change depending on where you are.

A New More Dangerous Strain of COVID-19

The Delta variant of COVID-19 was first identified in India and is causing a spike in COVID-19 infections among unvaccinated people in the west, where it has become the dominant variant of the coronavirus. The recent spike in infections in California has hampered that state’s re-opening making it more important than ever for Washington residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mutations in the Delta variant make it replicate faster and evade the body’s immunity mechanism. According to the World Health Organization, it is the ‘fastest and fittest’ variant yet. The Delta variant is 50-60 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant which was 50-60 per cent more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19. Vaccination has been found to protect individuals against hospitalization and death from the Delta variant.

More COVID-19 Vaccine Resources:

Información sobre la vacuna COVID-19 en español

Las vacunas contra el COVID-19 son seguras y efectivas. Luego de completar su vacunación, puede reanudar algunas de las actividades que dejó de hacer por la pandemia.

Information on the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Background

  • The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) resumed use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine after a pause initiated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. and 160,000 in Washington State.

Why the Pause?

  • CDC and FDA reviewed data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot, called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), in individuals that received the J&J vaccine.
  • A further 9 cases were identified after the pause was initiated. All the cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.
  • The fact that these adverse events were identified so quickly demonstrates how well our robust vaccine safety monitoring systems work. The choice to pause the use of the J&J vaccine while officials studied it further means they are taking vaccine safety very seriously and exercising great caution.

Why is the J&J vaccine available again?

  • This decision is based on recommendations from the FDA, the CDC, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, as well as careful consideration and close review by the DOH.
  • These adverse events appear to be extremely rare: 15 cases out of more than 8 million doses. The risk of getting a blood clot from a J&J vaccine is lower than getting a blood clot from birth control or smoking or for those hospitalized by COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government and Unity Care NW, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously.

Should I be concerned I got the J&J vaccine?

  • Again, these adverse events are extremely rare: 15 cases out of more than 6.8 million doses.
  • People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
  • The FDA and CDC are confident that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.
  •  COVID-19 vaccines will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
  • The bottom line: You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than in developing complications from the J&J vaccine while over 370,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Washington state. Protect yourself and your loved ones today.

    Are some people more susceptible to blood clots?

    Most people who developed the blood clots and low levels of platelets were females ages 18 through 49. However, with so few cases to study, it is difficult to know for sure if something is predisposing women in this age range to the clots.

    Although it appears there is a relationship between the vaccine and the clots, anywhere from 2 to 14 people per million develop blood clots each year in this country. It could be that the individuals who developed the blood clots would have developed them regardless of whether they received the vaccine.

You can help our efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic!