Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department
We’ve passed some important milestones! More than half (50.65%) of all residents have started vaccination, which includes 61.5% of everyone 16 and older. We’re very close to hitting the governor’s 70% threshold for reopening!
Our fully-vaccinated data is also encouraging. More than half (51.14%) of everyone 16 and older and 42.29% of Whatcom County’s total population is fully vaccinated.
This week, Whatcom County providers are due to receive 1,870 doses this week. For more information, check out our infographic below.
You may have noticed that second dose shipments are not listed. That’s because the state has started organizing shipments according to a “blended inventory model,” which doesn’t distinguish between doses intended for first or second use. Since vaccine providers now get every dose they ask for, instead of a proportional share of a limited supply, providers are able to operate with more flexibility within this new system.
Community Vaccination Center Update
There’s no Saturday clinic this week, but hours are extended for both the Tuesday and Thursday clinics.
Appointments are recommended, but not required! Walk-ins are accepted, as are same-day appointments. You can make an appointment at either of the links below, or call 360-778-6075 for help scheduling an appointment. Language assistance is available at this number.
For help using PrepMod, driving directions and more information, go to VaccinateWhatcom.org.
Right now, the CVC is not offering the Pfizer vaccine, so only people who are 18 or older can be vaccinated at the CVC.
Pop-up Vaccination Clinics and Other Walk-In Options
The Nooksack Tribe is once again graciously sharing their supply of Pfizer vaccine with the community. Sadly, the Tribe has suffered a death in their community and must reschedule these clinics for next week. We will provide updates about these clinic’s dates and times in our next Vaccine Update Newsflash.
There are lots of other local vaccine providers that currently offer COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment. Those providers include:
- Haggen on 12th Street (if scheduled vaccine appointments are not full)
- Haggen in Ferndale (if extra doses are available)
- Haggen on Meridian
- Haggen on Woburn
- PeaceHealth Community Vaccination Center
- Safeway in Bellingham (if extra doses are available)
- Walgreens (call first to check availability)
Go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov for a complete list of local vaccine providers.
Workplace Masking Guidance for the Fully Vaccinated
Last week, DOH and Labor & Industries both updated their guidance concerning mandatory mask use for the fully vaccinated. You can view DOH’s guidance here and L&I’s guidance here.
Long story short—employers may still require employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. If employers do wish to allow fully vaccinated employees to go without a mask at work, they must get proof of vaccination from the employee. See L&I’s guidance to learn more about acceptable forms of vaccination proof.
Following any known exposure at work, fully vaccinated employees are exempted from quarantine requirements and don’t have to stay home from work, unless they’re showing symptoms of COVID-19. Refer to DOH’s guidance for more information.
Regardless of your vaccination status, we recommend you keep your mask on indoors. Half of the people in our county haven’t yet been vaccinated and local infection rates are still higher than in other parts of our region. Asking essential workers to try to determine vaccination status based on masking is an unfair burden. Each of us can ease this burden by choosing to wear a mask indoors, even if we’re already vaccinated.
Weekly Vaccine MythBusted: COVID-19 Vaccine Shedding
You may have heard claims online that vaccinated people risk “shedding” parts of the vaccine onto others. This isn’t true. No parts of the vaccine “shed” from vaccinated individuals onto others.
This myth is based on two premises, both borrowed from other debunked COVID-19 myths.
- First, that COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus and will give you COVID-19. None of the vaccines currently in use contain the live virus, so this is not possible. Learn more about this myth in our May 4 Vaccine Update Newsflash.
- Second, that COVID-19 vaccines negatively affect reproductive health, and can cause miscarriage, infertility, or upset menstrual cycles. None of these claims are true. You can learn more about the origins of this myth in our April 20 Vaccine Update Newsflash).
Viral shedding happens when someone who’s been infected by a virus, such as COVID-19, expels (or sheds) particles of the virus when they breathe, cough or sneeze. This is why we recommend the use of masks or face coverings – they prevent those infected with COVID-19 illness from shedding the virus and help protect you from catching the virus if you’re around someone who is infected.
Since none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States contain any part of the live COVID-19 virus, it’s not possible for you to catch COVID-19 from vaccination, so you can’t shed the virus by getting vaccinated. Likewise, you can’t shed any vaccine components.
Vaccines aren’t contagious. Far fewer people would need to get vaccinated against any illness if that were the case. Since vaccines aren’t contagious and can’t be shed, we need as many people to get vaccinated as possible to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus – which actually can be shed. COVID-19 can alsoharm pregnant women and lead to pregnancy complications.
Bottom line – if you’re currently planning or hoping to become vaccinated, you won’t shed parts of the vaccine onto others. Learn more about myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccine here.
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine planning, and vaccine safety can be found on the DOH’s COVID-19 vaccine web page at www.covidvaccinewa.org. For information about COVID-19 vaccination in Whatcom County, visit our webpage at www.whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine.