The COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading fast. As of October 25 in King County, proof of vaccination will be required for everyone ages 12+ at outdoor events of 500 or more people, indoor recreational events or establishments, restaurants, and bars. As of September 13 in Washington state, masks are required for everyone ages 5+ at outdoor events with 500 or more people, and continue to be required in public indoor spaces. For more information, please see our Current COVID-19 guidance page.
The CDC recommends booster doses of Pfizer vaccine for people who have completed two doses of Pfizer at least 6 months ago and are:
- 65 years or older
- Residents in long-term care facilities
- 50-64 years who are at high-risk because of underlying medical conditions
The following people may also receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after receiving two doses of Pfizer vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks:
- 18-49 years who are at high-risk because of underlying medical conditions.
- 18-64 years in occupational or institutional settings that put them at high risk for COVID-19 (healthcare, schools, child care, homeless shelter, correctional facility)
Only booster doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have authorized by the FDA at this time. Booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not yet been authorized. NOTE: Third doses of Moderna have been authorized only for people who have significantly compromised immune systems, such as those receiving cancer treatments or organ transplants.
Booster doses are available at Public Health’s vaccination sites. Drop-in booster vaccinations available (no appointment needed).
COVID-19 vaccine is always free. Everyone ages 12 and older can get a vaccine. Ages 12-17 can get Pfizer ONLY, ages 18+ can get Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. Learn more about vaccination for youth at kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth
No appointment needed: most pharmacies, clinics, and Public Health centers now offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccination. Enter your zip code in Washington's Vaccine Locator tool or check our Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.
Who can get vaccinated now
Everyone age 12 years and older is currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are not authorized for children younger than 12 years old. Clinical trials are in process for young children.
Learn more about eligibility and getting vaccinated in King County.
Cost of vaccine
There is no cost to you for the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. The vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and the cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured.
COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot:
- Charge you for the vaccine.
- Charge you directly for any administration fees, copays, or coinsurance.
- Deny vaccination to anyone who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network.
- Charge an office visit or other fee to the recipient if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination.
- Require additional services in order for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as appropriate.
COVID-19 vaccination providers can:
- Seek appropriate reimbursement from the recipient’s plan or program (example: private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) for a vaccine administration fee. However, providers cannot charge the vaccine recipient the balance of the bill.
- Seek reimbursement for uninsured vaccine recipients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
Vaccine safety is a priority
Safeguards to ensure that vaccines meet standards for safety and effectiveness include:
COVID-19 vaccines must go through rigorous clinical trials in which many thousands of study participants receive the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the scientific data from these studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of each vaccine. FDA relies on analysis and recommendations from an advisory group of independent scientists and experts, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). VRBPAC meetings are open to the public.
If a vaccine meets the FDA's safety and effectiveness standards, the FDA can make the vaccines available for use in the U.S. by traditional licensure or emergency use authorization.
After the FDA makes its determination, a second independent advisory body of immunization experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will review the vaccine's safety and effectiveness data. They will make recommendations to the CDC with guidance for healthcare providers and the public about the use of the vaccine.
Vaccine Safety Monitoring
After any vaccine is authorized for use, including COVID vaccines, multiple safety monitoring systems are in place to watch for possible side effects. If an unexpected serious side effect is detected, experts work as quickly as possible to determine whether it is a true safety concern. This serves as an ongoing evaluation of safety even after the clinical trials are completed. For COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC and FDA have expanded safety monitoring systems to carefully evaluate safety in real-time and make sure the COVID-19 vaccines are as safe as possible.
- More information: Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States, CDC
Only licensed and trained health professionals can give vaccinations
Only individuals who are licensed and trained to administer vaccines will be able to provide vaccination. Once the vaccine is more widely available to the general public, many different types of healthcare providers will provide vaccine in order to make the vaccine accessible for all who are interested in receiving it. These providers may administer vaccine both in clinics and hospitals and at more mobile or pop-up events in the community.
Important to continue COVID-19 safeguards
- A safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is a major break-through. But vaccine alone won't end the pandemic right away.
- Not everyone is vaccinated, and more contagious variants are spreading. Protective measures – including wearing masks as required in schools, hospitals, on public transportation, and other settings, improved indoor ventilation, and getting tested as needed – continue to be crucial to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
- The good news is that once you’re fully vaccinated, you can start doing many things again that stopped because of the pandemic. Learn more on the Getting Vaccinated in King County page.
Vaccine progress and strategy
Our aim in King County is to efficiently and equitably vaccinate as many eligible King County residents as possible in order to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the impact of the pandemic on our community.
- King County's Strategy for Vaccine Delivery Updated Apr. 1, 2021
- Principles for Equitable Vaccine Delivery
- Progress Report on Vaccine Delivery in King County Updated September 14, 2021
More information about COVID-19 vaccine
In accordance with Federal civil rights law, Public Health – Seattle & King County does not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of an individual’s protected class, including but not limited to race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, and marital status. If you have a complaint and wish to file a grievance, or have a question about possible discrimination, please contact the King County Civil Rights Program at civil-rights.OCR@kingcounty.gov; 206-263-2446; TTY Relay 7-1-1; or 401 5th Ave, Suite 800, Seattle, WA 98104.
Link/share our site at kingcounty.gov/covid/vaccine