Updated Nov. 23, 2021

What to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

The vaccines are safe and effective.

Getting vaccinated is a safe, effective way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. All COVID-19 vaccines have gone through Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States and other countries with over 115,000 volunteers and are authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As of Aug. 23, 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became the first vaccine to receive full FDA approval for use in individuals 16 and older. It is licensed under the name Comirnaty.

The vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

People in Washington 5 and older can get their COVID-19 vaccination.

Keep in mind: the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine authorized for use in people ages 5 to 17. People 18 and older can use any of the available vaccines.

The vaccine is free.

The federal government covers the cost of the vaccine and the administration fee for first, second and third doses, and booster doses. An administration fee is the fee healthcare providers charge to give the vaccine. They are not allowed to charge a patient for the vaccine itself. You should also not be charged for an office visit if you receive the vaccine only.

Appointments are available and easy to schedule.

You can schedule an appointment with your doctor, a pharmacy or at a vaccination clinic. There are plenty of options in Spokane County. All you have to do is sign up. Visit VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov or call 1.800.525.0127, then press # to book an appointment. Ready to go today? Many providers are offering walk-up vaccinations.

Getting vaccinated takes about 30 minutes.

Getting vaccinated doesn’t take long. Plan for about 30 minutes. After you receive your vaccination, the clinic will ask you to stay for 15 minutes to monitor for potential allergic reactions.

Vaccines require 1 or 2 doses.*

Make sure you know how many doses you will need. Some vaccines require two doses. Others require one. If you will need two, try to schedule your second vaccination appointment before you leave your first appointment.

*Third doses of the mRNA vaccines are available to some people and booster doses of all three vaccines are now available to everyone age 18 and older. See the Vaccine FAQ for more information.

You may feel symptoms after your vaccination.

As with other routine vaccines, you may feel symptoms after vaccination. These can include a sore arm, fever, headache, chills, tiredness or nausea. Or you may not feel anything. Either outcome is normal and means the vaccine is working. Symptoms should go away within a few days.

You will be fully vaccinated two weeks after your last dose.

It takes a little time for your body to build up its immune response after vaccination. You can expect the vaccine to take full effect about two weeks after you receive your second dose of a two-dose vaccine and two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

You may be able to help others.

When you’re scheduling your appointment, think about others you know in your family or social circle who may want to get vaccinated, but are having trouble scheduling or getting to an appointment. You may be able to schedule for both of you and go to your appointments together.

Adapted from materials developed by the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.