Reading Time: 6 minutes
On January 14th, Skagit County Public Health announced that it would begin providing COVID-19 vaccine to Phase 1b, Tier 1 eligible individuals on Tuesday, January 26th at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. This will be in addition to continuing to serve 1a-priority populations, including those who work in healthcare settings and staff/residents of long-term care facilities. Vaccine will be made available based on supply provided by the State.
It is important to note that Skagit County Public Health is not the only vaccine provider in our community. A list of providers (local, regional, and state-wide) can be found here. With that said, a mass vaccination clinic at the Fairgrounds will make a large, and positive impact by allowing vaccine to be more widely available in Skagit.
Vaccines will be administered at the Skagit County Fairgrounds for those eligible, by appointment only. Please note that this schedule will depend on vaccine supplies.
Those who are eligible under Phase 1b, Tier 1 include:
- All people 65 years and older
- People 50 years and older in a multigenerational (2 or more generations) household
Full guidance on phases from the WA Department of Health (DOH) can be found here. There are two categories of people who are eligible under the multigenerational household definition:
- People who are (a) over the age of 50 AND (b) are not able to live independently who either:
- are receiving long-term care from a paid or unpaid caregiver, or
- are living with someone who works outside the home
- People who are over the age of 50 AND are living with and caring for a grandchild
This is an exciting time for our community, as vaccine becomes available to a wider portion of our population. So, what should 1a and 1b, Tier 1 individuals expect when they make an appointment for a vaccine at the Fairgrounds? Here is a step-by-step guide to Public Health’s Vaccine Site at the Skagit County Fairgrounds.
Note: Vaccines are available through other providers in Skagit County, dependent on supply provided by the State. Public Health recommends that you please consult your doctor or pharmacy about other availability! You can also find a list of vaccine providers here.
Step 1: Registration
Before making an appointment, individuals will be required to determine their eligibility. There are two ways to do this: visit www.findmyphasewa.org or call our Vaccine Hotline at (360) 416-1500: Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Whether you use the online Phase Finder link or call the hotline, expect to provide information like age, occupation, and living situation in order to determine your phase.
Appointments at the Skagit County Fairgrounds are currently only available for those eligible under Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Tier 1. Our ability to schedule appointments will depend on vaccine availability. We will post any changes in regards to phase eligibility on our website: www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine.
To schedule an appointment by visiting: https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/. Appointment availability is based on vaccine supply.
Please call our vaccine hotline at (360) 416-1500 if you need assistance with registration. The hotline is available in English and Spanish, Monday – Saturday , from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
There are very minimal barriers to accessing a vaccine. The federal government is covering the cost of vaccine, making it no-cost for those with or without insurance. Some vaccine locations may submit an administrative fee to your insurance if you have insurance. Skagit County Fairgrounds vaccine site will not request any insurance information or bill an administrative fee. When you arrive, you will not be expected to provide insurance information or residency information. It is truly the goal of the County to provide vaccine to all those who want it.
Step 2: Arriving at the site
The Vaccine Site is located at the Skagit County Fairgrounds, North Gate Entrance (1410 Virginia St., Mount Vernon, WA 98273). Testing has been located here for several months now through the South Entrance. Those with an appointment for a vaccine should enter through the North Entrance only.
Once through the gate, vehicles will be directed to a holding area which will operate similar to a ferry system. Once there is space, vehicles will be moved through the site, either to a parking lot for the walk-in clinic (for first dose) or to the F-Barn for the drive-thru clinic (for second dose).
If instructed toward the parking lot, individuals will be asked to remain within their vehicle until instructed to come into the building. Please note: We ask that only individuals with a vaccine appointment enter the vaccine building at the A/B Barn. However, people requiring assistance from another adult are welcome to bring that adult in with them. Children will not be allowed to enter the A/B building and should remain at home or with an adult in the vehicle.
If instructed to continue to drive toward the F-Barn, drivers will proceed based on instructions from our traffic staff.
Step 3 & 4: Checking in & Vaccination
Walk-in clinic (first dose):
We ask that people adhere to physical distancing requirements while in the building, and that a surgical mask is worn at all times. If you do not have a surgical mask, one will be provided.
Once an individual enters the Vaccine Building, they will be greeted and asked to fill out a consent form. This form helps staff fill out each person’s Vaccine Card, which documents when their first dose was administered, and what brand of vaccine was provided (note: Public Health is currently providing Moderna vaccine and will also be providing Pfizer in the coming days). This will also be a time for people to read about the vaccine they will be receiving.
Individuals will be asked to remain seated until called forward by staff.
Once the consent form is complete and when a nurse is available, individuals will be called to an enclosed area. Here, the nurse will be able to answer questions that you may have and will screen for any possible health issues that may be of concern for someone receiving a vaccine.
From here, the nurse will administer the vaccine: a simple shot in the upper arm, similar to a flu shot.
Drive-thru (second dose):
After following directions to the F-Barn, vehicles will enter one-at-a-time into the building. Those with an appointment will receive their vaccine while seated within their vehicle. A nurse will ask that individuals roll down their windows, and the vaccine will be administered in this way.
A nurse can determine if someone is not able to receive the vaccine while in their vehicle. If this is the case, there will be space for individuals to exit their vehicle and have the vaccine administered outside of their vehicle.
Step 5: 15-Minute Monitoring
Those who are vaccinated will be required to wait for 15 minutes in our holding space—either in our waiting room (for first dose) or in our holding parking lot (for second dose). Staff in this area will monitor individuals for any possible side effects, such as light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, or shortness of breath.
This is the perfect time for those receiving their first dose to enter the date of their second dose into their calendars. You will automatically be scheduled for your second dose of vaccine–either 28 days (Moderna) or 21 days (Pfizer) after your first dose as the same time of day. If you need to change this time you will be provided with a phone number to call or can request that change during your waiting time.
Once the 15-minute holding period is complete, people are free to leave.
Step 6: Best practices and safety precautions post-vaccination
Once someone receives the vaccine (first and/or second dose), it is still important to keep practicing physical distancing and other safety precautions. Keep wearing your mask, keep your distance, and keep gatherings small.
There is not enough information currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
While we understand that this isn’t necessarily what people want to hear, it is the best way to protect our friends and loved ones who have yet to be vaccinated.
If you would like more information about the vaccine, please call Skagit County Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, available in both English and Spanish. Staff will be able to assist you with general vaccine questions, and can provide information about priority phases, as well as vaccine locations. Please call Public Health’s main line at (360) 416-1500 to access the Hotline. Calls will be answered during regular business hours: Monday through Saturday from 7:30am-6:00pm.
And as always, for the most up-to-date information, visit our webpage at www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine.