News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: March 2, 2021

Whatcom County COVID-19 Vaccine Update 3/2/21

Providers in Whatcom County are due to receive 11,030 first doses and 1,900 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the week of March 1st. To date, providers in Whatcom County have received a total of 29,915 initial doses. As of Feb. 27, 30,969 Whatcom County residents have received their first dose and 16,083 have been fully vaccinated.

See the graphic below for more local vaccine data. 


Infographic Changes

Vaccine providers in Whatcom County get vaccine shipments from multiple sources. These sources include the CDC’s allocation to the state, doses sent directly to Federally Qualified Health Centers, the new Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, the Long Term Care Pharmacy Partnership, and the Indian Health Service

We don’t receive data on the number of doses allocated through the Long Term Care Pharmacy Partnership or the Indian Health Service. Data for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program comes to us the week after doses have been shipped, so each week we will be updating allocation numbers to include the past week’s doses shipped through the retail pharmacy program.

President Announces Faster Vaccine Production, K-12 and Childcare Worker Prioritization

Today, President Biden announced important updates about the federal COVID-19 response:

  • Merck and Johnson & Johnson are partnering to drastically increase vaccine production, and the President expects there will be enough vaccine supply in the U.S. to vaccinate every adult by the end of May. He noted that this does not mean that all people in the U.S. will have received a vaccine by that time.
  • The President directed every state to give all educators, school staff members and childcare workers at least one dose of vaccine by the end of March. 
  • States will get help vaccinating school and childcare workers from the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Governor Inslee announced today that as a result of the President’s announcement, educators and licensed childcare workers in Washington State qualify for vaccination immediately and may schedule appointments right away. The Phase Finder tool might take some time to reflect these changes. 

These announcements happened this afternoon, and we will learn more about what this means for Washington State in future updates. We will provide more information on our website and social media channels as soon as we have it. 

New COVID-19 Vaccine Receives FDA Approval for Use in U.S.

On Feb. 27, the FDA authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the United States. It will take some time to scale up production, but once that happens we’ll have three vaccines to choose from and higher dose allocations, which will speed up vaccination considerably.

Washington State could be allocated around 60,900 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as early as this week. We don’t yet know when this vaccine will be available in Whatcom County 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has several promising attributes:

  • The vaccine is highly effective at preventing illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. 
  • You only need one dose. This is especially helpful for people who may have a harder time getting appointments. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Check out this article to learn more about viral vector vaccines for COVID-19. For details about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, read the FDA’s Feb. 26 vaccine analysis.

More Vaccine Coming to Independent Seniors

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is partnering with the National Guard to vaccinate seniors in independent living facilities, including low income senior housing, across the state. 

We are working with local nonprofits and affordable housing providers to coordinate this effort with DOH and the National Guard. The partnership is expected to start its first clinic in Whatcom County beginning the third week of March. We’ll provide more updates about these clinics when we know more about them. 

Improvements to DOH Vaccine Locations List

DOH has updated their Vaccine Locator to include:

  • Which type of vaccine each provider has available.
  • Whether or not they are currently accepting appointments.

The list also explains how to contact the provider to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Providers need to opt in to have their information shared on the Vaccine Locator list, so this list doesn’t include every enrolled vaccine provider. You can also check your regular healthcare provider’s website or look for emails and texts from them to find out if they are making COVID-19 vaccine appointments. 

Improvements to DOH Phase Finder Tool

DOH has updated their Phase Finder Tool: 

  • The online version is now available in 10 languages - English, Spanish, Russian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese, Hindi, Tagalog, Korean. 
  • An additional 20 languages (English, Spanish, Russian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese, Hindi, Tagalog, Korean) will be available early this week. 
  • Any language not listed was omitted due to technical limitations on the Phase Finder web tool. DOH is working with the developers to update their system to accommodate language needs in Washington state. 
  • A paper version of Phase Finderhas been developed for people without access to the internet. DOH is encouraging vaccine administrators to print this paper version to better accommodate people who have trouble using Phase Finder online. There is also a text-only version of the tool that can be used by people operating phone lines or reception desks.
    • Visit the partner toolkit to access the “Printable Phase Finder Tools” and other resources to help promote Phase Finder in multiple languages.

More Information

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 the COVID-19 vaccination in Whatcom County, visit our webpage at www.whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine

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