How to get the vaccine
UW Medicine is scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments for eligible patients in Phase 1A and 1B:
- 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)
- High-risk healthcare workers in healthcare settings
- High-risk first responders
- Long-term care facility residents
- All other workers at risk in healthcare settings
*More information about who is eligible can be found in the availability section of our FAQ below.
Make a vaccine appointment
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.
Use your eCare account to schedule online. If you don’t have an account, you will need to sign up. This is the fastest way to make an appointment, but appointments may not always be available due to high demand.
Call or text 844.520.8700
If you’re eligible, get in line to receive a call back to make an appointment. Appointments will be made only during the call back. Due to high demand and limited vaccine supply, it may take some time for us to return your call. Thank you for your patience.
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.
Information about scheduling
Scheduling your second dose
Within 48 hours after receiving your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive a notification in your eCare account that you can schedule your second dose vaccination online.
You will need to get this second dose to be fully immunized. The fastest way to schedule your second dose appointment is through your eCare account.
If you have any questions or difficulty with scheduling your second dose, you may call the UW Medicine Contact Center at 206.520.8700.
Second dose time frame
Your second dose may be scheduled anytime between 24 days and 42 days after your first dose based on scheduling availability and to minimize rescheduling related to changes in vaccine supply. Please be assured that your vaccine will still be safe and effective within this timeframe.
Rescheduling an appointment
You may reschedule your COVID–19 vaccine appointments via eCare. We also send phone and text appointment reminders that offer a rescheduling option.
- To reschedule using eCare, log in and navigate to the "Visits" page to find your vaccine appointment and follow the instructions.
- To reschedule from an appointment reminder, follow the instructions and respond by calling the number provided. Rescheduling via text is not supported.
Canceling an appointment
We appreciate you taking the time to cancel your appointment to free up space for another eligible patient.
You may cancel your COVID-19 vaccine appointment via eCare. We also send phone and text appointment reminders that offer a cancellation option.
- To cancel using eCare, log in and navigate to the "Visits" page to find your vaccine appointment and follow the instructions.
- To cancel from an appointment reminder, follow the instructions and respond by texting or calling.
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. Eligibility is based on vaccine quantities and guidance from the Department of Health.
YIf 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.
YIf 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.