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Quick Read:

  • UW Medicine’s COVID-19 bivalent booster campaign has started. We’re aiming for full participation by Friday, Nov. 11, 2022; schedule your appointment now.
  • We are keeping a close eye on the spread of new COVID-19 variants in the U.S. and around the world.
  • The Moderna bivalent booster is now available in limited supply at our high-volume vaccination sites.
  • Free telehealth consultations for COVID-19 treatment are available through the Washington State Department of Health.

By now, you have seen the all-staff message from earlier this week announcing our COVID-19 bivalent booster campaign. Participation is required for all UW Medicine employees, except for those in non-clinical roles in the School of Medicine, by Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.

Given the importance of this campaign for patient safety and because vaccines continue to be the most effective tool we have for reducing the spread of COVID-19, I wanted to echo the need for full participation in this effort and encourage you to get the new booster at your earliest opportunity.

In turn, I hope you’ll encourage your friends and family members to do the same. The more of us who are vaccinated, the safer we will all be.

Right now, our local COVID-19 levels are manageable and appear to have plateaued. But nobody knows what the coming months will bring. Our most instructive models at the UW Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecast rising COVID-19 cases into December and experience tells us to expect higher community transmission as people spend more time together indoors.

We should also anticipate new COVID-19 variants. New strains of the virus have emerged every three to six months during the pandemic. We’re seeing that trend continue with the new omicron subvariants BA.4.6, which is becoming more prevalent nationally, and BQ.1.1, which is spreading rapidly in some parts of Europe. We are monitoring these variants closely and will keep you updated.

In the meantime, the best thing you can do for yourself, our patients and our community is get boosted. Even though King County has some of the highest primary series vaccination rates in the country, only about 12% of our eligible residents have received the bivalent booster so far. We can improve on that number. Now is the time to do it. And it’s up to us as healthcare professionals to lead the way.

Bivalent booster availability

I’ve been asked in recent weeks whether it matters which bivalent booster you receive, Pfizer or Moderna. For adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has authorized both. It doesn’t matter which product you received for your primary series; getting the booster as soon as you are eligible is the most important thing. However, Pfizer is the only bivalent booster currently authorized for people ages 12 to 17.

While most of our current bivalent booster stock is Pfizer, we now have Moderna in limited availability at all three of our high-volume vaccination sites, including Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center–Montlake and our new location at UW Medical Center–Northwest. You may request Moderna when scheduling your appointment. However, we cannot guarantee it will be available when you arrive.

You can schedule your booster online at

University of Washington employees, students, contractors, and non-clinical employees in the School of Medicine should schedule by calling 844.520.8700.

All UW Medicine COVID-19 booster sites also are offering flu vaccines. It’s safe to get both shots at the same time and much easier than making two separate trips or appointments. I highly recommend it.

DOH offering free telehealth for COVID-19 treatment

If you or somebody you know does contract COVID-19, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) offers free telehealth consultations to determine if oral antiviral treatments are an option. This is a great service and includes free home delivery, if requested, of the prescribed medicine, even for people who are underinsured or not insured. Language assistance also is available.

UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 519,958 total cases and 3,217 deaths as of Tuesday, Oct. 11. The number of new positive tests over the past seven days is currently at 79.3 per 100,000 people.

Washington: The Department of Health reports 1,825,852 cases and 14,430 deaths as of Oct. 11.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 39,893 new cases, 96,581,755 total cases and 1,057,975 deaths as of Oct. 12.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 620,301,709 confirmed cases and 6,540,487 deaths as of Oct. 13.

As our COVID-19 bivalent booster campaign kicks off, we’re reminded of the responsibility we all share for keeping our community safe in the weeks and months ahead.

If you have questions about the new booster, it is always best to talk directly to your provider. But there are also some good resources available online, such as this slide show from Public Health – Seattle & King County that’s available in more than a dozen languages and addresses common questions about the new boosters. For trusted content on basic information, it is a great option for sharing with family members and friends.

If you have questions about the booster campaign, you can email them to Thank you for doing your part and for continuing to make UW Medicine a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff.


John Lynch, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine