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.

Kids & COVID-19 Vaccines

Pfizer recently announced that their vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11.

Before vaccines can be made available for this age group, the FDA will need to authorize it, which is expected to happen by the end of October.

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 recommended a booster dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for people over 65 and people over 16 who who have certain underlying medical conditions. While Moderna boosters are still in the approval stage, Pfizer boosters are available now.

The CDC and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup recommend Pfizer boosters to:

  • People 65 years and older, at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series.
  • Residents in long-term care settings, at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series.
  • People aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions , at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series.
    In addition:
  • People 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks

It is also recommended that the booster dose is the same brand as what was received initially. The booster recommendation does not currently apply to the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, though Johnson & Johnson has recently submitted a request to the FDA for approval of a booster for their vaccine as well.

Boosters may be made available to more adults pending the evaluation of all the data by an FDA advisory committee.

Please schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your individual medical condition(s), to determine if a booster dose is right for you.

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

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?”

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 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.

Masking

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.

The Delta Variant

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.

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!