Vaccine FAQ: ‘How do I get vaccinated?’ and other essential questions

KENNEWICK, Wash. — As of April 15, 2021, all people (16+) in the state of Washington are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Now, many Washingtonians are wondering ‘How do I get vaccinated?’ We’re here to answer that question and more with our Vaccine FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) page!

Vaccine FAQ No. 1: Where can I get vaccinated?

In Washington state, there are a variety of options for you to consider. First of all, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) has numerous mass vaccination sites set up throughout the state. For those in South Central Washington, you may want to consider the Benton County Fairgrounds mass vaccination site.

Beyond that, government leaders have established public/private partnerships to ensure that you can get vaccinated at doctor’s officers, pharmacies, grocery stores, hospitals, and other participating locations.

State leaders have created a Vaccine Locator tool that will help you find the right fit for you personally. If none of these options suit you, feel free to contact your regular health care provider to find out if they offer vaccinations:

Additionally, Oregon state leaders have created a similar tool that should help you find a vaccine provider near you.

Vaccine FAQ No. 2: How do I make an appointment?

Making an appointment in the state of Washington is easier than ever, but you have to decide where you’re getting it first. For private entities like pharmacies and grocery stores, they will have their own registration service. You will be redirected to their websites from the Washington DOH’s Vaccine Locator tool (click here to visit).

If you’re planning to make an appointment at a public vaccination site, you can visit the DOH’s Prep Mod tool by clicking here. This website is slightly similar to the Vaccine Locator tool, but here, you can book appointments at state-led clinics like the mass vaccination site.

Vaccine FAQ No. 3: Do I need to prove my eligibility?

Previously, the state required that people prove their eligibility using a tool called “Phase Finder,” which was recently discontinued by the DOH. As of April 15, all Washingtonians over the age of 16 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, there isn’t much need to check eligibility anymore.

In short, you won’t need to prove eligibility, per se, but you may be asked to provide personal information for safety and record-keeping purposes. If you are a minor, you must receive consent from a parent or guardian before being vaccinated.

RELATED: All Washington adults will be vaccine eligible April 15, Governor Inslee says

Vaccine FAQ No. 4: Is there anything I should know about getting vaccinated before I make my appointment?

Like with any vaccine, you may experience mild to moderate side effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the side effects you may experience include “pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body.”

Please be advised that while vaccines are a great protector against COVID-19, they don’t automatically make you immune to catching the virus. There have been some “breakthrough cases” recorded by the Washington DOH, which means a person who was fully vaccinated still contracted the virus.

The CDC considers you “fully vaccinated” two full weeks from the day you received your second dose. According to research by the Mayo Clinic, Pfizer vaccines are proven 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective.

Officials from the CDC advise that vaccinated people continue to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even once you are fully vaccinated, you’re still encouraged to maintain six feet of distance from non-vaccinated individuals and wear a mask when interacting with other people.

Vaccine FAQ No. 5: I have questions that were not answered here. Can you point me to other resources that may answer my concerns?

Absolutely! I’ve compiled a list of articles we’ve written here at that may be helpful for you. But first, before I share that, I’d like to refer you to state and federal-level resources from public health officials.

Washington DOH’s Frequently Asked Questions: Click Here.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Frequently Asked Questions: Click Here.

The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA’s) Frequently Asked Questions about the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine: Click Here.