How to get the vaccine
Due to low inventory, we are not currently scheduling first-dose appointments.
When inventory is available, we will resume scheduling for eligible patients in Phase1A and 1B:
- High-risk healthcare workers in healthcare settings
- High-risk first responders
- Long-term care facility residents
- All other workers at risk in healthcare settings
- All people 65 years or older
- All people 50 years or older in multigenerational households (home where individuals from two or more generations reside such as an elder and a grandchild)
*More information about who is eligible can be found in the availability section of our FAQ below.
An appointment is required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We will not be accepting walk-ins at any UW Medicine vaccination site, hospital or clinic. We will resume scheduling first-dose appointments when inventory is available.
Alternative vaccine locations
The Department of Health provides a list of organizations offering the vaccine to eligible patients. Inventory varies daily and the organizations listed may or may not have vaccines.
Check your eligibility
Use the Department of Health’s Phase Finder to see if you’re eligible now or sign up to be notified when you are.
Questions or concerns after getting vaccinated
Information about scheduling
How do I confirm the day and time of my scheduled vaccine appointment?
You may check the day and time of your appointment in eCare. You will also receive an appointment reminder message by phone, text or both.
Scheduling your second dose
Within 48 hours of your first dose, we will send you an email notification with the appointment date and time of your second COVID-19 vaccine dose. We will also send you a reminder three days before the appointment.
You will need to get this second dose to be fully immunized. See below for more information on rescheduling or cancelling your appointment.
If you received the Pfizer vaccine, we will schedule your second dose 17-42 days after your first dose. If you received the Moderna vaccine, we will schedule your second dose 24-42 days after your first dose.
Your vaccine will still be safe and effective within this full timeframe. You will need to get a second dose to be fully immunized.
Rescheduling an appointment
You can reschedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointments through eCare Log in and click on the "Visits" page. Find your vaccine appointment and follow the instructions to reschedule.
We also send phone appointment reminders that offer rescheduling. To reschedule from an appointment reminder, follow the instructions and respond by calling the number provided. Rescheduling via text is not supported.
You may also reschedule your appointment by calling 206.520.8700.
Canceling an appointment
We appreciate you taking the time to cancel your appointment. Doing so frees up space for another eligible person.
You can cancel your COVID-19 vaccine appointment through eCare (your online medical record). To cancel using eCare, log in and click on the "Visits" page. Find your vaccine appointment and follow the cancellation instructions.
We will also send phone and text appointment reminders that offer cancellation. You can cancel from an appointment reminder by following the instructions and responding through text or call.
You may also cancel your appointment by calling 206.520.8700
The COVID-19 vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize the coronavirus. When you get the vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies (“fighter cells”) against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that stay in your blood and protect you in case you are infected with the virus. You get protection against the disease without having to get sick. When enough people in the community can fight off the coronavirus — something called herd or population immunity — it has nowhere to go. This means we can stop the spread quicker and get closer to ending the pandemic.
We believe that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will help prevent you from getting seriously ill even if you get infected with the virus. Vaccination helps reduce the spread of a virus and protects the people around you, including people who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Based on what we know about viruses, we think it will help. Stopping a pandemic requires us to use all the tools we have available, including masks, physical distancing and vaccines to help limit the spread.
Herd or population immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection from a virus or bacteria — either from previous infection or vaccination — that it is unlikely the disease can spread. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don't have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.
Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.
You will be able to schedule an appointment once you are eligible and if there is vaccine inventory available. Eligibility is based on vaccine quantities and guidance from the Department of Health.
If you are not eligible yet, we recommend you visit Phase Finder at FindYourPhaseWA.org. This web-based tool helps determine your eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination.
If you provide your email or phone number, the state will contact you when it is your turn to receive a vaccine.
We will notify UW Medicine patients about vaccine availability by email and here on the COVID-19 vaccine web page.
Your UW Medicine eCare account is the best way to stay informed about your vaccination registration timing. We encourage you to sign up or log in to mychart.uwmedicine.org for the latest information, as it becomes available.
Currently, UW Medicine is offering two COVID-19 vaccines. One vaccine was developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and the other by Moderna. Both vaccines have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization and approval from the Western States Scientific Review Group. Other vaccines are currently in clinical trials.
You should get the vaccine available to you when you are eligible to schedule your vaccination. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are equally safe and effective.
COVID-19 vaccines are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will only be allowed for use if the FDA considers them safe and effective.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, since we’re in a pandemic, developing a new vaccine can go faster than normal. No steps are skipped, but some steps happen at the same time, like applications, trials and manufacturing.
You may have heard the term "emergency use authorization." This is one of the tools the FDA is using to make critical medical products, including tests and vaccines, available quickly during the pandemic. It helps speed up the process of approval, clearance and licensing.
Safety and efficacy (how well the vaccine works to protect you) are determined by clinical trials. After clinical trials, medical experts examine test results and any side effects. If the vaccine works and is safe, it will get approved for distribution to the public.
Washington state has joined other western states, the Western States Scientific Review Group, to do an additional expert review of the clinical trials' results to make sure the vaccine is ready for distribution.
Watch these videos to learn more about how vaccines are approved:
No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The new COVID-19 vaccines use inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus, parts of the virus (like the spike protein) or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.
Yes. However, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, we recommend that you wait until 90 days have passed since infection. This allows others who remain at higher risk for infection to be vaccinated first. Current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon 90 days after the initial infection.
Children are not a priority group for vaccines yet but may become eligible once the vaccine is more widely available.
In addition, major vaccine trials so far have focused on adults. As more vaccine clinical trials enroll children, we'll learn about the safety and efficacy for them.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should get the vaccine once it is available to them. We know that:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women were not included in the COVID-19 clinical trials.
- The risk of maternal or fetal harm from an mRNA vaccine is unknown but thought to be low.
- COVID-19 disease carries an increased risk in pregnancy. This is particularly true for patients with obesity or other medical conditions.
The UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support offering the COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant and breastfeeding patients.
Please speak to your doctor if you are concerned or have more questions.
What to expect
What to expect
Most of the vaccines need two shots to be effective. In the future, a vaccine using one shot may be approved.
Vaccine side effects may be unpleasant but are not dangerous. In clinical trials, some people experienced fever, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue and headaches. Most people will not experience side effects that prevent daily activity.
Some people who have received the Moderna vaccine reported delayed allergic reactions. These reactions occur at or near the site of injection on their arm around 5 to 7 days after vaccination. Symptoms included redness, rash or swelling. You may still receive the second dose of vaccine if you have had this type of reaction.
Before receiving either vaccine, please let your doctor know if you've had severe allergic reactions in the past.
We don’t know yet. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about.
Yes. To prevent unvaccinated people from getting sick, it's important to continue washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart and limiting gatherings until enough people have received the vaccine.
We know vaccination will prevent you from getting sick, but we do not know if the vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others yet.
According to the CDC, vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars will be given at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. These providers, such as clinics, pharmacies and hospitals, can get this fee reimbursed by a patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.