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The vaccine is now available for all UW students — here’s a guide to getting one

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The vaccine is now available for all UW students — here’s a guide to getting one

Students line outside McMahon Hall, one of the on campus COVID-19 testing sites, on September 25, 2020.

On April 15, the COVID-19 vaccine became available to anyone over the age of 16 in the state of Washington. With this new mandate, most UW students are now eligible to get the vaccine — and we have a guide for those who want to know how to get one. 

Some of the best tools for locating a vaccine nearby you can be found on the UW Medicine website. Using the vaccine locating tools listed (Vaccinate Washington and Vaccine Finder), students can find places to get vaccinated near them.

“With the pause in the J&J vaccine, and the fact that we are now open, so that anyone can get vaccinated, there is probably a pretty long line to get in,” Ruth Silue, a nurse manager at Hall Health, said.

The Washington State Department of Health announced Washington state will be resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, as of April 24.

Students who are looking to get vaccinated can get on waitlists at pharmacies and clinics —  including CVS, Safeway, Rite Aid, QFC, and Walgreens. 

The vaccine is funded by the government and free for everyone, regardless of insurance or income. The only exception to this may be possible registration fees on websites or for pharmacies, but for uninsured patients, this fee is reimbursed.

“UW and the campus are also working together to try and put up some pop-up clinics on campus to make it more accessible to students, and we are hoping to do that pretty soon in the next month or so,” Silue said. 

With the new mandate, pop-up clinics, and the online tools to locate vaccines, UW students should have the vaccine available to them relatively soon.

There are currently three vaccines authorized by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States — the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, and the J&J vaccine. When comparing the three in terms of effectiveness, many professionals have assured they are pretty much the same.

Yale Medicine has created a website which compares all three vaccines in detail. 

“Essentially, the Pfizer and the Moderna are the same type of vaccine and work equally effectively,” Silue said. 

As concerns about the side effects of the vaccine arise, Silue says most of these side effects are normal for patients to experience, and normal for other vaccines as well.

“The most common side effects are sore arm, possible headache, body aches, those sorts of things, which are very common with a lot of vaccines,” Silue said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also states that any vaccine has the potential to cause side effects, and gives a list of each vaccine approved in the United States alongside their most common side effects. 

Some speculation about the J&J vaccine has risen due to worries it may cause blood clots, but many health professionals have since assured it is really nothing to be too worried about.

“The J&J vaccine is also very effective, and the benefit of that one is that it's a one-dose vaccine,” Silue said. The CDC states there have been six cases of blood clotting out of the 6.8 million doses administered, and that this condition is “extremely rare.” 

After the vaccine was put on pause following the report of blood clots, the FDA and CDC conducted a thorough safety review and stated use of the vaccine should resume. The agencies found the vaccine to be safe and effective and noted “the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks,” according to a press release from the CDC.

Silue has worked at Hall Health for 10 years and strongly encourages all students to get vaccinated.

“Pretty much every vaccine that is on the market has shown to be effective for preventing major illness and hospitalization, which is kinda what we are aiming for,” Silue said. “The best one is the one that you can get, because preventing the disease is far more preferable than getting the disease.”

Reach contributing writer Mary Murphy at Twitter: @marymurphy301

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