Why did you change your mind about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Why are you waiting in such a long line for your COVID-19 vaccine?
Why did you vaccinate against COVID-19?
Columbia Basin College student Chloe Greer shares why she is vaccinating against COVID-19.
How It Works – Heather Hill, RN, BSN
Dispelling myths about COVID-19 vaccine – Spanish
El personal de BFHD disuade los errores comunes sobre las vacunas COVID-19.
Vax Up Tri-Cities
Vaccination is the best weapon against spread of COVID-19.
Community COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics
Times and locations may change. Appointments not required.
Booster shots available at mobile clinics.
Frequently asked questions
Click each question to learn more
I'm already vaccinated against COVID-19. Should I get a third dose or a booster?
Anyone age 18 and older can now get a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine if enough time has passed since their initial vaccination:
- 6 months since second dose of Pfizer or Moderna
- 2 months since one dose of Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
You can choose a different vaccine for your booster if you want a different type (for example, getting a Pfizer booster after the Moderna vaccine, or a Moderna booster after the J&J vaccine). The J&J vaccine has a low risk of a serious blood clotting disorder, especially for women under age 50. Other vaccines that do not have this risk are available.
Protection from the initial doses decreases over time. The booster shot “boosts” immunity and maximizes protection. It’s especially important for older adults (50 and older) and other high-risk populations (with underlying medical conditions or who work or live in high-risk settings) to get the extra protection from a booster shot.
Pfizer and J&J’s boosters are both full doses, while Moderna’s booster is a half dose.
According to the FDA and CDC, studies found “mixing and matching” boosters is safe and effective. This means your booster shot does not have to be the same COVID-19 vaccine type as your primary vaccination. For example, someone who received the J&J vaccine can receive a booster dose of J&J, Pfizer or Moderna. Likewise, someone who received two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) can receive a Moderna, Pfizer or J&J booster.
Where can I get a booster?
You can find booster shots at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and clinics, and anywhere else that COVID-19 vaccine is available. Find a vaccine provider near you on the vaccine locator
You don’t need to prove that you need the booster. There is enough supply of vaccine, but health care workers are extremely busy. You may need to make an appointment, or wait a while to get in for the shot. But don’t worry – your current vaccination still offers strong protection against serious COVID-19 illness.
I am immunocomprovised, do I need a third dose?
This is a question for your health care provider. A third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is now recommended for certain immunocompromised individuals.
A third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer – Comirnaty or Moderna) is identical to the first two doses. It can help protect people with weakened immune systems who did not have a strong enough response to the first two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines. Such people can get a third dose as soon as 28 days after a second dose. The FDA has authorized, and the CDC recommends, that those with certain medical conditions that suppress the immune system get a third dose of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine that they initially received.
There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.
Third doses of Pfizer – Comirnaty and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are available as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP), and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
While authorized vaccines have proven to be more than 90% effective in protecting against most variants, emerging data suggest people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised. The third dose is not considered a booster, rather an additional dose for individuals who did not adequately develop immunities with the initial two-dose series. A full list of conditions is available on the CDC’s website.
A person receiving a third dose should get it at least 28 days after dose two. When possible, the individual should receive the same vaccine as the first two doses but may receive the other mRNA vaccine brand if the original vaccine is not available. At this time, no additional dose is recommended for people who had the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. People who received J&J should not get a second dose of either J&J or a dose of an mRNA vaccine. Additionally, people with competent immune systems should not receive a third dose at this time.
While vaccination is likely to increase protection, people who are immunocompromised should continue to wear a mask, maintain 6 feet of social distancing, avoid crowds, and avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces to protect themselves and those around them. Close contacts of immunocompromised people are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to help place a bubble of protection around them.
Here are FAQ’s from CDC that should help answer some of your questions about third shots and booster for COVID-19.
What Booster Should I Get?
You can get a different vaccine for your booster dose than the vaccine you got for your primary series. The CDC made their decision following a careful review of the latest data (Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, mix and match boosters), and robust and deliberative discussion around booster shots.
When deciding to mix or match a booster, you should weigh benefits with risks and consult with your medical provider. This depends on age, sex, vaccine type and risk for COVID-19 disease. The ACIP met and has data that can help drive your decision.
At the ACIP meeting scientists of the landmark mix and match study presented their data:
- The most benefit was for those with a primary J&J shot. A Moderna booster gave the greatest benefit (56.1 fold increase in IgG). Pfizer also worked very well (32.8 fold increase in IgG).
- After the primary Moderna series, there was equal benefit from either a Moderna or Pfizer booster.
- After the primary Pfizer series, the greatest benefit was from a Moderna booster. But a Pfizer booster helped a lot too.
The mix and match study is one study. In epidemiology, consistency across studies is key. Unfortunately, there is not time to wait for more studies. We don’t know what a “protective” level of antibodies is. So, these fold-increases may not correlate with real world effectiveness. Data was presented 29 days after original dose. J&J may have a delayed reaction, so this data may miss the ultimate protection that J&J can provide.
While there is uncertainty there’s benefit to a booster and to mixing.
There are many different scenarios of mixing and matching. A conversation with your primary care provider is recommended.
What is the difference between a third dose and a booster?
There are two distinct potential uses for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine:
A third dose is an additional dose after an initial primary vaccine series. This additional dose of vaccine is given when the immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient. Right now an additional mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose is ONLY recommended for moderately to severely immunocompromised people after an initial 2-dose primary mRNA vaccine series.
A Booster dose is an additional dose of vaccine given after a specified amount of time, regardless of the immune response to the first two vaccinations.
Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults aged 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data pdf icon[4.7 MB, 88 pages] suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms. Emerging evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is decreasing over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated (e.g., waning immunity) as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.
Booster doses of all three COVID-19 vaccine types are now available for everyone 18 and older. The expansion comes following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
At least six months after receiving both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine:
- Those 18 and older should receive a booster dose.
Everyone 18 and older who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot two months after getting vaccinated.
Where can I get vaccinated?
BFHD is not currently resourced to provide vaccine to the community from our building. Check the top of this page for clinics we are hosting with community organizations.
1) If you or someone you know needs assistance with qualification or help finding a provider, call 1.800.525.0127 and press #.
2) Check Vaccine Locator to locate a provider near you (or check below).
3) If you need help getting to a vaccine location, visit www.bft.org/VaccineTransportation.
Understanding the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program – CDC
V-safe: a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.
Are the vaccines safe for pregnant and lactating women?
Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the vaccine for pregnant people. There is no evidence that COVID-19 causes any problems with pregnancy, the development of your baby, birth, or fertility.
Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic, pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes that could include preterm birth, stillbirth, and admission into the ICU of a newborn also infected with COVID-19.
CDC issued an urgent health advisory to increase COVID-19 vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future to prevent serious illness, deaths, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The CDC health advisory strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks.
There is currently no evidence that antibodies made following COVID-19 vaccination or that vaccine ingredients would cause any problems with becoming pregnant now or in the future. Learn how COVID-19 vaccines work. In a recent in vitro fertilization (a type of fertility treatment) study, researchers compared pregnancy success rates among three groups of women.
- Antibodies from having been vaccinated against COVID-19
- Antibodies from having a recent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19
- No antibodies from either having a recent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 or from having been vaccinated against COVID-19
The study found no differences in pregnancy success rates among the three groups.11
See COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy for more information.
COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens
The CDC COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens webpage provides about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines for adolescents aged 5 and older, how to find a vaccination provider for adolescents, and what to expect during and after vaccination.
Check out this fact sheet for parents that explains the benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine for your children, safety information, and what to expect during and after vaccination.
Here is information from the Washington State Dept. of Health COVID-19 vaccine for kids page.
Myths are circulating online and in social circles and here are a couple related to teens we would like to clear up. Female menstrual cycles cannot be affected by being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine nor does it affect current or future fertility. This Q&A explains why.
Below is information about COVID-19 pediatric vaccines for the 5-11 year olds. The vaccine is a 2-dose series taken 3 weeks apart. Each dose is 1/3rd the dosage of the adolescent/adult vaccine.
Pediatric Vaccine FAQ’s (Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH PhD)
I had COVID, why should I get vaccinated - don't I have immunity?
After being infected with the coronavirus, you will develop antibodies and some immune protection. The amount of protection can vary significantly among different individuals. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Recent research published by the CDC found that people who had survived COVID-19 in Kentucky and remained unvaccinated were more than twice as likely as vaccinated survivors to become reinfected.
The bottom line: Vaccines offer a more predictable protection, and it will likely last longer.
You can be vaccinated as soon as you complete your isolation period – no need to wait!
Why get vaccinated if I can still get COVID-19?
There is a huge personal benefit from getting vaccinated: Most vaccinated people avoid serious illness, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads rapidly in our community. It helps to protect you, your friends and family, and other people in the community from COVID-19. That means you are less likely to miss work or school, to need medical care and the expense that comes with it. You are less likely to infect your family and friends.
And as a community, the only way we can get past this pandemic is to have an overwhelming majority of our residents protected from COVID-19 and taking precautions to limit its spread.
- Vaccinated people are less likely to become infected and to spread the virus to others. Every person who gets fully vaccinated is helping limit how much COVID-19 we have in our community. And it reduces the possibility of the virus replicating and mutating (and possibly becoming more resistant to vaccines).
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures alone are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
- Over time, as more people are vaccinated, we may no longer need some of the other COVID-19 prevention measures that are necessary at this time.
Who is mandated to get vaccinations?
There are requirements at both the federal (national) and state level. Both will apply to workers in Washington.
These requirements are not unique to Washington. Several other states have requirements in place for the same industries.
Guidance is updated from the federal and state government often. We recommend referencing this site for the latest.
And remember, any employer can set requirements.
Proclamation 21-14 (Vaccination Requirement) is expanded to include all employees, on-site contractors and on-site volunteers at all public and private K-12 schools, public and private 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education, and early learning and child care programs serving children from multiple households.
Businesses are also able to mandate employees get vaccinated and may offer a test out option. The CBC-West site is asking employees to not use the mass vaccination site as a test out option due to the large volume of ill people needing to be served at the site.
- Interim Guidance for Health Care Worker Staffing Shortages
- COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement FAQ for Health Care Workers
- COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement FAQ for Child Care, Early Learning, and Youth Development Providers
- COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Employers (Non-Healthcare Settings)
- From the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI): COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement FAQ for Teachers and School Staff
- From the Governor’s Office: General FAQ page related to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement proclamation 21-14.1
President Biden recently announced that all businesses in the U.S. with 100 or more people will need to require employees to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. He also announced that federal government employees and contractors will now be required to be fully vaccinated, as well as workers at health care facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. There is no alternative testing option for these groups.
The Federal COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Agency Model Safety Priciples (updated 9/13/2021)
- Federal Executive Branch employees must be fully vaccinated, except in limited circumstances
where an employee is legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation. Agencies must work
expeditiously so that their employees are fully vaccinated as quickly as possible and by no later
than November 22, 2021.
• With the government-wide adoption and implementation of these vaccination requirements,
agencies are no longer required to establish a screening testing program for employees or onsite
contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated, although they may do so.
• The President has announced that Federal contractor employees will be required to be
vaccinated. Prior to being contractually required to be vaccinated, onsite contractor employees
who are not fully vaccinated and are not part of an agency testing program must provide proof
of a negative COVID-19 test from no later than the previous 3 days prior to entry to a Federal
What if I lose my COVID vaccination card?
You do not have to have your card to provide your vaccination status. Your Washington State Immunization Record is your official record for all of your immunizations. Get your record at Washington | MyIR. MyIR Mobile is an internet-based service that gives people access to their official Washington state vaccination records. You can set up an account at www.MyIRMobile.com.
MyIR Mobile is currently available in English only. For language assistance, or additional help getting your records, call the Washington State Vaccine Helpline at 833-829-4357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you lose or misplace your card and want a new one, you can call your provider to see if they are able to provide a replacement.
- For lost cards distributed at the Mass Vaccination Site, call the Health District COVID Call Center at 509.460.4358 (509.460.4359 Esp.).
- If your record is not in MyIR, call 1-800-525-0127 for assistance.
What can be used as proof of vaccination?
What if my vaccination record is not in MyIR ?
Your Washington State Immunization Record is your official record for all of your immunizations. Get your record at Washington | MyIR. If your record is not in MyIR, call 1-800-525-0127 for assistance.
Will the vaccines end the pandemic?
A safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is a major breakthrough in preventing COVID-19 infection, but needs to be used in combination with other preventive measures. Vaccine alone will not end the pandemi. For this reason, even with the vaccine now available, it is necessary to continue with the core COVID-19 safety precautions including limiting activities outside the home, physical distancing, and mask wearing for the foreseeable future as we learn more about how long the protection lasts, when and if additional doses are needed and as more people become protected through vaccination over time.
How do we know vaccines are safe?
+ Vaccine Safety Handout – DOH
We now have more than nine months of experience with COVID-19 vaccines, and one of those vaccines (from Pfizer) has already passed all of the investigation required for final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And in this time, we have learned:
- All three of the vaccines available in the U.S. are very safe. People may have temporary side effects (such as feeling very tired and achy for a day or two). But the number of people with serious reactions to the vaccines is extremely low.
- All three of the available vaccines are proving effective, even against the Delta variant. We measure effective based on how well they prevent people from getting so sick that they need to go to the hospital, or face dying. For example, during September 2021 in King County, people who are not fully vaccinated are more than 40 times more likely to need hospitalization for COVID-19 than people who are vaccinated. And people not fully vaccinated are more than 50 times more likely to die from COVID-19.
- Highly effective does not mean 100% effective. No vaccine, against any disease, is 100% effective. No medication to treat disease is 100% effective.
- The vaccines limit how much people spread the virus (but they do not completely stop us from spreading it). People who are vaccinated are far less likely to get infected, even if they are exposed. And if you are not infected, you can’t spread the virus to others. Even if a vaccinated person does get COVID-19, they usually have it for a shorter period of time, and that means they spread it less than someone who is not fully vaccinated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.
COVID-19 vaccines must go through rigorous clinical trials in which many thousands of study participants receive the vaccine. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the scientific data from these studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of each vaccine. FDA relies on input from an advisory group of outside scientists and experts, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) to provide an objective and thorough analysis of safety and effectiveness. VRBPAC also makes recommendations to FDA about vaccine approval. This is a transparent process because VRBPAC meetings are open to the public.
If a vaccine meets the FDA’s safety and effectiveness standards, the FDA can make the vaccines available for use in the U.S. by traditional licensure or emergency use authorization.
After the FDA makes its determination, a second independent advisory body of outside immunization experts, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will review the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness data and make recommendations to the CDC with guidance for healthcare providers and the public about the use of the vaccine.
Vaccine Safety Monitoring
After a vaccine is authorized for use, multiple safety monitoring systems are in place to watch for possible side effects. If an unexpected serious side effect is detected, experts work as quickly as possible to determine whether it is a true safety concern. This serves as an ongoing evaluation of safety even after the clinical trials are completed. For COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC and FDA have expanded safety monitoring systems to carefully evaluate safety in real-time and make sure the COVID-19 vaccines are as safe as possible.
Some Vaccine Formulations Require More Than one Dose
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require more than one dose for optimum effectiveness. Both vaccines have shown an efficacy around 95% after the second dose is taken approximately 21-28 days after the initial dose, depending upon the vaccine. Multiple formulations (different products) of vaccine are under development. How the vaccine is made, the number of doses required to provide protection against the COVID-19 virus, how it has to be stored and which populations can receive it varies from vaccine to vaccine. Individuals will likely not be able to choose which vaccine they receive.
Only Licensed and Trained Health Professionals Can Give Vaccinations
Only individuals who are licensed and trained to administer vaccines will be able to provide vaccination. Once the vaccine is more widely available to the public, many different types of healthcare providers will provide vaccinations in order to make the vaccine accessible for all who are interested in receiving it. These providers may administer vaccine both in clinics and hospitals and at more mobile or vaccination sites in the community.
Is there different guidance for fully vaccinated individuals?
Another benefit of vaccination, beyond protection from serious illness and hospitalization, are some eased restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
The CDC has released guidance regarding masking, gathering, traveling and quarantining for fully vaccinated individuals.
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.
When can we stop masking and distancing?
Under the Washington State Secretary of Health’s Order, masking is required for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in public settings where the vaccination status of individuals cannot be known. There are certain instances in which masking is not required, like in private offices where everyone is vaccinated and there is no interaction with the public. More here.
***All local and national businesses can be more restrictive with masking guidance, but not less. A mandate follows a different process for approval than a legislative law, but it is still a requirment and can be enforced.***
Benton-Franklin Health District is not the authoritative body for mask mandates.
- Customers who are concerned that a business is not adequately enforcing the face mask order or other Roadmap to Recovery requirements can submit an anonymous complaint here.
- Businesses with questions about the face covering order or any other Roadmap to Recovery related questions can contact the state’s Business Response Center. If you’re an employer and have questions about the order regarding face coverings for employees, visit the state Department of Labor & Industries common questions page.
Information on Adverse Reactions
Myocarditis and Pericarditis
Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis
Myths and Facts about Vaccine Safety
Now that there are authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, accurate vaccine information is critical.
How do I know which sources of COVID-19 vaccine information are accurate?
+ Vaccine Safety Handout – DOH
It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. Learn more about finding credible vaccine information.
The CDC addresses the most common reasons for vaccine hesitancy on their myths and facts page.
- Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19? (NO)
- After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test? (NO)
- If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get a vaccine? (YES)
- Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA? (NO)
- Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or want to have a baby one day? (YES!)
Other Frequently Asked Questions about vaccination can be found here.
Resources for Employers to Help Employees Get Vaccinated
Farm and Ag Workers Resources
Resources for Healthcare, Vaccine and Community Based Providers
Are the vaccines effective against the Omicron variant?
Health experts are studying how effective the COVID-19 vaccines are against the Omicron variant. It will take several weeks or longer before there is enough data to understand how well the vaccines work against the variant.
Many experts believe that current vaccines will remain effective, especially against severe disease. For the best protection, all people eligible for a booster dose should get it as soon as possible.
- Call the Vaccine Hotline (DOH): 1-800-525-0127 and press #
- Lost Vaccine Card: Get your Immunization Record at Washington My IR or call 509.460.4358 for assistance
- Call Washington Listens for Behavioral Health Assistance : 1-833-681-0211
- Washington State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan (DOH)
- Send Feedback About the Plan to DOH
- Current Vaccine Phase Information and Definitions (DOH)
- Washington’s COVID-19 Vaccine Phases Graphic (DOH)
- Pfizer Vaccine FAQs
- COVID-19 Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine Information – FDA
- Moderna Vaccine FAQs
- COVID-19 Moderna Vaccine Information – FDA
- COVID-19 Janssen Vaccine Information – FDA
- COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients (available soon)