COVID-19 News

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

Omicron is Hitting Whatcom Hard

PeaceHealth hospital has reached the highest number ever of COVID inpatients. Unity Care NW recently sent an email to patients with more information about:

COVID-19 Vaccines

NOTICE: Unity Care NW is feeling the impact of nationwide health care staffing shortages. Due to a lack of sufficient staffing, we will no longer be able to offer COVID-19 vaccines at our Bellingham health centers. However, COVID-19 vaccines will still be available at Unity Care NW’s North Whatcom Health Center in Ferndale.

If transportation is an issue, ask our schedulers about options for helping you get to your appointment.

Call 360-676-6177 for appointments, available Monday – Friday at our health center at 6060 Portal Way in Ferndale.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge. There is no out-of-pocket cost for COVID-19 vaccines. Currently, patients over age of 5 can receive a vaccine at Unity Care NW.

More information is available here.

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

Free At-Home COVID Tests Available at Unity Care NW Health Centers

While Supplies Last

Almost two years into the pandemic, at-home rapid tests have been difficult to find in the U.S. If you do find them, they’re often expensive. As part of the Biden Administration’s Path Out of the Pandemic COVID-19 Action Plan, Unity Care NW and other Community Health Centers across the county will receive free, FDA-authorized COVID-19 testing supplies for distribution to their communities. Unity Care NW will offer tests free of charge to patients in our Pharmacies as long as there is demand and sufficient supply. Limit 2 tests per patient per week. Tests are Available on a first-come-first-serve-basis. Please DO NOT call the Pharmacy for Information.

Before you take a test, make sure you know what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

Kids & COVID-19 Vaccines

Children are at risk for contracting COVID-19, and some can get seriously ill. Even if a child doesn’t get severely ill, they could face long-term health consequences or pass the virus to others. The best way to protect children against COVID-19, including the Delta variant—in school, in sports, with their friends—is by getting them vaccinated. Even if they have already had COVID-19, variants of the disease continue to evolve and those who have contracted COVID and then been vaccinated have been found to be better protected from reinfection.

The vaccines are safe and effective. Like other pediatric vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine was thoroughly tested on children whose parents volunteered them for trials and then reviewed by the FDA and CDC. These agencies authorized and recommended it for wide use among children. The vaccine is available at no cost and regardless of citizenship or insurance status.

In a recent episode of the NPR program, The Takeaway, Dr. Miriam Laufer, pediatrics infectious disease specialist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health expert, spoke about the process of authorizing the vaccine, and what parents need to know about vaccinating their children.

 

Booster vaccine doses

The CDC’s and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup now recommend everyone 16 and older receive COVID-19 booster doses at the recommended interval. This decision followed the FDA’s decision to expand emergency use authorization (EUA) for booster doses for 16- and 17- year-olds.

Refer to your vaccination card for the type and date of COVID-19 vaccine administration. You can also get personal vaccination records through the Washington State Immunization Information System (WAIIS) at wa.myir.net.

 How to Access Your Vaccine Records

Most 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 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.

Variants

The CDC issued a health advisory warning regarding the Omicron variant of COVID-19. We know of at least three Omicron case detected in Washington State; currently under investigation. While we learn more about this variant’s signs and symptoms, everyone is encouraged to maintain vigilance against all forms of COVID-19.

  • Everyone 5 years or older should get fully vaccinated.
  • Get a booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
  • Continue to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, get vaccinated, ensure good ventilation and get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed.

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.

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. The recent spike in infections make it more important than ever for Washington residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Masking


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

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

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.

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