COVID-19 vaccine

How to access COVID-19 vaccine

Those included in Phase 1a and Phase 1b Tier 1 (B1) are now eligible to be vaccinated (see "How vaccine will be prioritized" section below). Clark County Public Health is working with local health care providers and pharmacies to ensure those who are eligible for immunization can be immunized.

If you are eligible in Phase 1a or Phase 1b Tier 1 (B1) and need help accessing vaccine, please complete a webform. Please only submit a form if you are eligible for vaccine in Phase 1a or Phase 1b Tier 1.

Public Health will forward all requests to facilities in Clark County that have COVID-19 vaccine available. Facilities will contact those who submit requests to set up a vaccination appointment as soon as possible. Wait times will vary. The number of people currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination exceeds the county's vaccine supply and health care facility capacity. 

Clark County Public Health is working with partners in Southwest Washington to explore opportunities for opening community vaccination sites in order to more quickly vaccinate people. Public Health will update this webpage as additional information becomes available. 

Webform information

If you are eligible in Phase 1a or Phase 1b Tier 1 (B1) and need help accessing vaccine, please complete a webform

Confirmation: When completed, press the "submit" button to submit your form. A message saying “The record was successfully submitted” confirms the request was submitted. You will not receive an email confirmation.

Next steps: A facility will contact you to schedule an appointment. It may take several weeks for you to hear from a facility, due to the large number of requests and the continued limited vaccine supply.

Phase Finder: If you confirmed your eligibility using the state's Phase Finder tool, you must still submit a request to Public Health using the webform.

Phase Finder only determines eligibility. It does not connect you to a facility with vaccine and does not send your eligibility information to Public Health.


How vaccine will be prioritized

Initially, there will not be enough vaccine for everybody, due to limited supplies. The vaccine will be administered in phases, with those at highest risk getting immunized first and immunization continuing until everyone who wants to be immunized can be immunized. State officials are hopeful that most people in Washington will be immunized by mid-summer 2021.

The Washington State Department of Health is determining the order in which different groups of people will receive vaccine (vaccine allocation). So far, the state has released details for Phase 1a and Phase 1b.

Those in Phase 1a and Phase 1b Tier 1 are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Phase 1a
  • Tier 1:
    • high-risk workers in health care settings
    • high-risk first responders
    • patients and staff of long-term care facilities
       
  • Tier 2 (after completion of Tier 1):
    • all workers in health care settings
Phase 1b
  • Tier 1:
    • All people 65 years and older
    • People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households

      There are two categories of people who are eligible under the “multigenerational household” definition:
       
      1. People who are 50 and older AND are not able to live independently AND are either:
        • Receiving long-term care from a paid or unpaid caregiver OR
        • Are living with someone who works outside the home
           
      2. People who are 50 and older AND are living with and caring for a grandchild.

        No one younger than 50 years is eligible, and no one 50 and older who is caring for a partner, friend or child is eligible.
         
  • Tier 2 (after completion of Tier 1):
    • High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings: agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, K-12 (teachers and school staff), child care, corrections, prisons, jails or detention facilities (staff), public transit, fire, law enforcement.
       
    • Tier 3 (after completion of Tiers 1 and 2):
      • People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions.
         
    • Tier 4 (after completion of Tiers 1, 2 and 3):
      • High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings younger than 50 years old.
      • People, staff and volunteers all ages in congregate living settings: correctional facilities, group homes for people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness who live in or access services in congregate settings.

    Additional guidance on Phase 1a and Phase 1b is available on the Washington State Department of Health website. 

    The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will issue guidance for later phases, and the Washington State Department of Health will use those recommendations, along with community and stakeholder feedback, to issue updated allocation and prioritization plans.

    Public Health will provide updates on this webpage as additional groups are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. 

    About the vaccines

    Two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Both vaccines have also passed independent review by medical experts in the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, as part of the Western States Pact. 

    The first vaccine, developed by Pfizer BioNTech, received emergency use authorization from the FDA on Dec. 11. The second COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna, received emergency use authorization from the FDA on Dec. 18. 

    Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

    • mRNA vaccine
    • Approved for emergency use in those 16 years and older 
    • Two doses, 21 days apart
    • Requires ultra-cold storage
    • Clinical trial data show the vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection starting seven days after the second dose.

    More about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available on the CDC website.

    Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
    • mRNA vaccine
    • Approved for emergency use in those 18 years and older
    • Two doses, 28 days apart
    • Clinical trial data shows the vaccine is about 94 percent effective at preventing symptomatic lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection after two doses.

    More about the Moderna vaccine is available on the CDC website.


    Vaccine safety

    Vaccine safety is a priority. The process to approve and monitor vaccines has been around for decades. The same process used to develop vaccines for other illnesses, such as measles, mumps and whooping cough, is being used to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Since we’re in a pandemic, developing a new vaccine can go faster than normal. No steps are skipped, but some steps happen at the same time, such as applications, trials and manufacturing. COVID-19 vaccines still go through several clinical trials, enrolling tens of thousands of volunteers, to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.  

    Medical experts review the results of the trials. If the data from the trials show the vaccine is safe and effective, the vaccine gets approved. Any vaccines that do not reach the final stages of testing and approval are destroyed.

    After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for possible side effects. As with other vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety. The CDC created an additional tool, v-safe, to monitor safety and more easily collect information about side effects.

    V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after a person receives a COVID-19 vaccination. People using v-safe can quickly tell the CDC if they’re experiencing any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. V-safe also sends reminders what it’s time to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Learn more about ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and the v-safe tool on the CDC website.

    Vaccine side effects

    Some people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine may experience side effects as their bodies mount a response to protect them from COVID-19. Common side effects include pain and swelling at the injection site, and fever, chills, tiredness and headache.

    These common side effects are normal and mean the immune system is working. Any side effects should go away within a few days.

    Find more information about what to expect after getting vaccinated on the CDC website.


    How COVID-19 vaccines are made

    How COVID-19 vaccines work in your body


    Understanding mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

    Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine used to protect against infectious diseases, but researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.

    The virus that causes COVID-19 has something called “spike proteins” on its surface. mRNA vaccines use a piece of the virus’ genetic material that contains instructions on how to make the spike proteins.

    Those instructions are used to teach human cells how to make a piece of the spike protein that will trigger an immune response in the body. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects a person from getting infected if the real virus enters their body.

    Once the mRNA delivers those instructions to the human cells, it is broken down by the body and does not become part of the person’s genes, nor does it interact with the person’s DNA in any way.

    Learn more about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines on the CDC website.

    Frequently asked questions

    Initially, there will not be enough vaccine for everyone. As a result, the vaccine will be administered in phases, with those at highest risk getting immunized first and immunization continuing until everyone who wants to be immunized receives vaccine. State health officials believe that most people in Washington will be vaccinated by mid-summer.

    Public Health will keep the public informed of when vaccine is available for different groups by updating its website and social media pages and working with the news media. Some people may be notified by their employer if they’re eligible as a result of their profession. You can also talk with your health care provider.

    The Washington Department of Health has identified the following groups to be vaccinated in the initial phase of the vaccine allocation framework:

    • Tier 1:
      • high-risk workers in health care settings
      • high-risk first responders
      • patients and staff of long-term care facilities
         
    • Tier 2 (after completion of Tier 1):
      • all workers in health care settings

    Additional information on phase 1a of Washington’s Vaccine Allocation Framework can be found on the Department of Health website.

    Most people will be able to get vaccinated by their regular health care provider. There will be additional vaccination sites for people who do not have a health care provider or whose provider is not offering COVID-19 vaccines. Public Health will share more information as it becomes available.

    The federal government is covering the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. You should not be charged out of pocket costs or receive a bill from your provider for the COVID-19 vaccine. This applies to people who have private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or are uninsured.

    Health care providers interested in receiving COVID-19 vaccine must enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program through the Washington State Department of Health. 

    Some people in trials for the COVID vaccines experienced side effects as their bodies mounted a response to protect them from COVID-19. Common side effects include pain and swelling where the vaccine was injected, mild fever, chills, tiredness and headache. This is normal and means your immune system is working.

    Yes, people who have had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. We don’t know enough yet about how long a person is protected after getting sick with COVID-19.

    People who currently have COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until they feel better and their isolation period is finished. People who recently had COVID-19 may also choose to wait 90 days after their illness passes before getting the vaccine. Data suggests that it may be uncommon to get reinfected with COVID-19 in the 90 days after infection.

    The process to approve and monitor vaccines has been around for decades. The same process used to develop vaccines for other illnesses, such as measles, mumps and whooping cough, is being used to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Since we’re in a pandemic, developing a new vaccine can go faster than normal. No steps are skipped, but some steps happen at the same time, such as applications, trials and manufacturing. COVID-19 vaccines still go through several clinical trials, enrolling tens of thousands of volunteers, to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.  

    Medical experts review the results of the trials. If the data from the trials show the vaccine is safe and effective, the vaccine gets approved for distribution to the public.

    Yes, even if you get vaccinated, you should continue to wear face coverings when around people you don’t live with, stay at least 6 feet from others, avoid gatherings and wash your hands frequently.

    Many people in our state will need to wait months to get the vaccine, and masks and other prevention measures are still recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to people who are not yet vaccinated.

    Washington is not currently considering any mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine, but some employers could require it.

    Additional resources

    • Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 vaccination plan
    • Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine webpage includes additional information about COVID-19 vaccine planning, availability and distribution, as well as answers to frequently answered questions.
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccines website includes additional information about COVID-19 vaccines, recommendations and vaccine safety.