COVID safety team update for March 23: vaccines

A Message from the COVID Safety Team

Dear students, families and community,

As part of our ongoing work to keep you informed about COVID safety practices and protocols we wanted to share information about vaccine eligibility, how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine and frequently asked questions.

Who can currently receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Use Phase Finder / Encuentra Tu Fase (findyourphasewa.org) if you are not sure you are eligible. We are currently in Phase 1B tier 2 of vaccine distribution. See “COVID vaccine phase definitions” below for more information about eligibility.

How to make an appointment

  • Use vaccinefinder.org to find providers with vaccine in stock and available appointments
  • Call the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 800-525-0127 or 888-856-5816 for assistance. Call-takers help determine eligibility, find providers with vaccine in stock and help you schedule an appointment. Spanish and English callers available.
  • Peacehealth open scheduling; you do not need to be a PeaceHealth patient
  • Washington state also has a COVID vaccine sign up system. Their site is online at https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/

Transportation to your appointment

  • Call Whatcom Transportation Authority at 360-676-7433 (RIDE). Spanish and English available, other languages also available if requested.
  • Medicaid patients needing rides for medical care, including vaccination appointments, can call 360-738-4554. Spanish and English available.

COVID vaccine phase definitions

Phase 1B tier 2 are now eligible. Vaccine Phases (English / Spanish)

  • High-risk critical workers in the following industries: agriculture, fishing vessel crews, food processing, grocery store/food bank, corrections (prisons, jails, detention centers), court of law, public transit, and remaining first responders.
  • People 16 years or older who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
  • Anyone 65 and older.
  • All people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household.
  • All workers at risk in health care settings. Includes caregivers (licensed, unlicensed, paid, unpaid, formal, or informal) who support the daily, functional and health needs of another individual who is at high-risk for COVID-19 illness due to advanced age, long-term physical condition, co-morbidities, or development or intellectual disability. Example: a caregiver of a child with Down syndrome
  • Educators and school staff for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and child care workers.
  • People who live or work in long-term care facilities.

Who can expect to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine soon?

On Wednesday, March 31, eligibility will expand to Phase 1B tiers 3 and 4:

  • People 16 years or older with 2 or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions.
  • All people 60 years and older.
  • People, staff and volunteers in certain congregate living settings: correctional facilities; groups homes for people with disabilities; settings where people experiencing homelessness live or access services.
  • High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings: restaurants, food services, construction and manufacturing.

More information on the COVID-19 Vaccine/FAQs

Will I be charged for the vaccine? The vaccine is provided at no cost to you. Your provider should not charge or bill you if you only go in to get vaccinated. You do not need to have insurance to receive the vaccine, but if you do have insurance you will need to provide your insurance information.

Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to get the vaccine? You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to get the vaccine. That means you do not need a social security number, or other documents with your immigration status, to get the vaccine. Some vaccine providers might ask for a social security number, but you do not have to give one.

How will the COVID-19 vaccine work in my body? The COVID-19 vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize the coronavirus. When you get the vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies (“fighter cells”) that stay in your blood and protect you in case you are infected with the virus. You get protection against the disease without having to get sick.

When enough people in the community can fight off the coronavirus, it has nowhere to go. This means we can stop the spread quicker and get a little closer to ending this pandemic. Watch this video from the Washington state Department of Health.

ICYMI (in case you missed it!)

Our district’s COVID safety team has hosted three first dose COVID vaccine clinics for all our staff. Second dose clinics started on Tuesday, March 16.

Staff receive COVID-19 vaccination shots at staff clinic