As we head into the fall and winter, the CDC has recommended that everyone 6 months and older, even if you have received the vaccine before, get the updated, recently released COVID-19 vaccine to protect against new strains of the virus. King County employees can access the vaccine at worksites, pharmacies, clinics, and community events.
Why do we need an updated COVID vaccine?
COVID-19 has not gone away, and local hospitalizations are on the rise. It is important to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community against COVID-19. According to Dr. Eric Chow, Seattle King County Public Health’s Chief of Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization,
“COVID-19 viruses change, and that makes it harder for our bodies to fight off new versions, or variants, even if you’ve had COVID-19 or been vaccinated previously. It’s harder for your body’s immune system to fight off variants that are different than the ones it’s fought before.”
COVID-19 continues to evolve, underscoring the importance of updated vaccines to ensure successful protection against the virus. “Updated vaccines protect against more recent variants and provides additional immune protection on top of what you had previously from both vaccines and infection,” says Dr. Chow.
While it is still be possible to get a milder form of the current COVID-19 variant once vaccinated, the new vaccine will provide additional protection from long-lasting COVID symptoms, severe illness, and hospitalization.
Who can get an updated COVID vaccine?
The COVID -19 vaccine is available for anyone over the age of 6 months. You can get the new vaccine if it has been two months since you received a previous COVID-19 vaccine.
As we enter flu season, it is important to note that it is safe and effective to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 shot at the same time. You can get your influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations in the same visit if you are due for both vaccines. Please know that COVID vaccines do not prevent the flu, and flu shots don’t prevent COVID – you need both for optimal protection.
How can employees access the latest vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are covered by King County’s Regence and Kaiser medical plans, with no out-of-pocket cost or for covered family members. You should bring your insurance cards when receiving the vaccine. You can receive COVID-19 vaccines at worksites, pharmacies, clinics, or community events. The following are a list of places to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
COVID vaccine clinics will be offered to King County employees on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Renton Roads and on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023 at the Chinook Building. Employees wishing to receive the vaccine via a worksite clinic should visit this blogpost for more information and how to register.
- Healthcare providers and pharmacies:
Many healthcare providers, clinics, and pharmacies offer the latest COVID-19 vaccine. Check with your healthcare provider or clinic to ensure they have the latest vaccine or check the list of pharmacies and other locations on Vaccines.gov.
- Community clinics:
There are many ways Seattle King County Public Health is offering the updated COVID-19 vaccine to community members, including at a Vaccination Center in Kent, in-home for people with conditions making it difficult to leave, at School Based Health Centers, and at pop-up community events. Check kingcounty.gov/vaccine for more information.
What if employees or their loved ones don’t have insurance coverage for vaccines?
The federal government has a Bridge Access program that covers people without insurance. Uninsured people will be able to get free a COVID-19 vaccination from CVS, Walgreens, and some independent pharmacies as well as from Community Health Centers. Bridge Access locations will be listed on Vaccines.gov.
Free COVID tests
As COVID-19 continues to spread, it is important to be prepared. You can, once again, place an order to have four free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to your home. To order, visit COVID.gov – Free at-home COVID-19 tests or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).