Use of the J&J vaccine has been paused as the CDC reviews reports of a rare, severe type of blood clot in six people who have received the vaccine in the U.S. Nearly 7 million people in the U.S. have received the J&J vaccine to date.
If you have an upcoming J&J vaccine appointment, it may be rescheduled or you may be offered a different vaccine. Contact your provider for information. All appointments at Public Health's Auburn and Kent clinics remain scheduled. Auburn will use Moderna, Kent will use Pfizer.
If you received the J&J vaccine more than a month ago, any risk is very low. If you received it within the last three weeks your risk of a blood clot is still very low. However, if you develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider or go to urgent care or an Emergency Room.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will continue to be used and are not affected by the CDC review. Safety is the highest priority for all COVID-19 vaccines. We will continue to provide updates as we learn more.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective but supplies across the state and country are limited. Not everyone who is eligible will be able to get vaccinated right away. It will be easier to get vaccinated as vaccine supply increases.
While supplies are low, Public Health is working with our partners to get vaccines to people at highest risk from COVID-19.
Who can get vaccinated now
As of March 31, 2021, the Washington State Department of Health has opened vaccine distribution through Phase 1b4.
Vaccination is available for the groups listed below regardless of insurance, citizenship, or immigration status. You will not be billed or charged for vaccination. The vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and the cost of vaccination will be covered for people who are uninsured.
Newly eligible (as of 3/31/21):
- Anyone between the ages of 60 and 64
- Eligible for Phase 1b3: People 16 years and older with 2 or more co-morbidities or underlying health conditions per the CDC's list of the conditions.
- Eligible for Phase 1b4:
- People (residents, staff, volunteers) in certain congregate living settings at higher risk:
- Group homes for individuals with disabilities, including serious mental illness, development and intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities as well as residential substance use disorder facilities not already covered in Phase 1
- Prisons, jails, detention centers, and similar facilities
- Places that serve people experiencing homelessness (e.g. temporary housing, shelters)
- Domestic violence shelters
- High-medium risk critical workers in congregate settings in the following industries:
- Restaurants and food services
Note: Congregate setting refers to work in an enclosed space around other people where physical distance cannot occur. Workers in these settings who are able to socially distance, work remotely or work off-site not in a congregate setting are not included.
Vaccination is also open for people who are:
- Eligible for Phase 1a: all workers at risk of acquisition or transmission of COVID-19 in healthcare settings; long-term care facility staff and residents; and home health and care aides.
- Eligible for Phase 1b1:
- Age 65 years and older
- Age 50 and older if they live in a household where two or more generations live, (such as an elder and a grandchild), and meet these qualifications:
- Cannot live independently and receives support from a relative or caregiver (paid or unpaid) or someone who works outside the home
- Lives with and cares for a young child, like a grandparent with a grandchild.
- PreK-12 educators and school staff
- Child care workers, which includes:
- Licensed family home child care providers, and the family members living in their home.
- License-exempt family, friends, and neighbor providers that accept Working Connections Child Care subsidy. These in-home providers can serve up to 6 children.
- ECEAP, Washington’s state-funded preschool providers. This is similar to the national Head Start program.
- License-exempt school-age and youth development providers who have been providing care to school-age children since the pandemic began and schools were closed and moved to online or hybrid teaching.
- Eligible for Phase 1b2:
- High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings in the following industries:
- Fishing vessel crews
- Food processing
- Grocery store/Food bank
- Corrections (prisons, jails, detention centers)
- Court of law
- Public transit
- First responders not included in earlier tiers (except administrators or those who can work remotely)
- Early learning a child care program workers in child care, youth development, and day camps that were not covered in Phase 1b1.
- Pregnant people
- People with a disability that puts them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
Congregate setting refers to work in an enclosed space around other people where physical distance cannot occur.
Learn more about eligibility and getting vaccinated in King County.
Cost of vaccine
There is no cost to you for the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. The vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and the cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured.
COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot:
- Charge you for the vaccine.
- Charge you directly for any administration fees, copays, or coinsurance.
- Deny vaccination to anyone who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network.
- Charge an office visit or other fee to the recipient if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination.
- Require additional services in order for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as appropriate.
COVID-19 vaccination providers can:
- Seek appropriate reimbursement from the recipient’s plan or program (example: private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) for a vaccine administration fee. However, providers cannot charge the vaccine recipient the balance of the bill.
- Seek reimbursement for uninsured vaccine recipients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
Vaccine safety is a priority
Safeguards to ensure that vaccines meet standards for safety and effectiveness include:
COVID-19 vaccines must go through rigorous clinical trials in which many thousands of study participants receive the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the scientific data from these studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of each vaccine. FDA relies on analysis and recommendations from an advisory group of independent scientists and experts, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). 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 immunization experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will review the vaccine's safety and effectiveness data. They will make recommendations to the CDC with guidance for healthcare providers and the public about the use of the vaccine.
Vaccine Safety Monitoring
After any vaccine is authorized for use, including COVID vaccines, 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.
- More information: Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States, CDC
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 general public, many different types of healthcare providers will provide vaccine 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 pop-up events in the community.
Important to continue all COVID-19 safeguards
- A safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is a major break-through. But vaccine alone won't end the pandemic right away.
- Right now, most people are not vaccinated yet – we’re in very early stages of vaccine distribution with limited supply. We’re also learning how well the vaccine works in preventing people who are vaccinated from spreading COVID-19 to others and how well it works on coronavirus variants, which are known to be circulating in King County.
- Even after vaccination, it’s important to protect others. Continue to wear masks, limit indoor activities outside of the home, avoid crowded indoor spaces, keep contact with others brief and distanced, improve ventilation indoors, and wash your hands frequently.
- The good news is that once you’re fully vaccinated, you can start doing some things again that stopped because of the pandemic. Learn more on the Getting Vaccinated in King County page.
Vaccine progress and strategy
Our aim in King County is to efficiently and equitably vaccinate as many eligible King County residents as possible in order to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the impact of the pandemic on our community.
More information about COVID-19 vaccine
Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/covid/vaccine