An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the sites were opened by the Snohomish Health District. The vaccine clinics are the product of the Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce, a group of government, nonprofit and private partners.
EVERETT — The Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce has opened two appointment-only, drive-thru vaccine clinics — one at Paine Field in Everett and another at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood.
The sites can administer a combined 700 doses per day, health district spokesperson Kari Bray said in an email. And that number could grow.
“We’ve done this because the math is simple,” Executive Dave Somers said during a Tuesday media briefing. “We have nearly 900,000 residents. Our goal is to vaccinate everyone this year. We need additional capacity beyond the existing system and we must do it in an orderly fashion.”
The county’s first shipments of COVID vaccines arrived in mid-December. Since then, about 40,000 doses have flowed into the county, and 14,000 people have received their first shot.
But new vaccine providers are being approved and capacity to administer doses is growing.
The health district estimates 8,000 to 10,000 people will receive a dose this week.
“An entire public health care system is having to re-frame their staffing, their space, and materials to implement this vaccine campaign,” Katie Curtis, the health district’s prevention services director, said during Tuesday’s media briefing. “We need enough vaccine to be distributed to our providers and there needs to be enough providers out there who can provide the vaccine. It’s a huge logistical lift to get this done for scheduling, having locations, having the staff and managing the records to ensure that everyone is given their second dose at the appropriate time.”
The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would be releasing to states millions of previously reserved doses, and called on states to make the vaccine available to anyone 65 and older, as well as anyone with a documented underlying health condition.
The doses were originally held back to ensure people getting their first shot would receive their second one on time. But government leaders are confident in the steady supply from Pfizer and Moderna, they said during a Tuesday call with governors.
In Snohomish County, a boosted supply could speed up the phase process, but leaders are waiting to hear more from the state Department of Health.
Meanwhile, COVID case counts have returned to previous highs, after a few weeks of improvement.
Local leaders previously hoped the virus’ third wave, which has been the most deadly, had peaked.
On Thursday, the county again broke its record for most cases reported in a single day — 370. The previous high, 357, was recorded in early December.
“This was likely due to transmission over the holidays,” Curtis said.
Hospitalizations from the virus are hovering between 110 and 120 people, mirroring highs seen last spring.
Who can get vaccinated?
Currently, the vaccine is available to health care workers, some first responders, and residents and staff at long-term care homes — a total of about 40,000 people countywide.
“We don’t have a full-throttle supply vaccine coming into the county,” Curtis said. “So we need to have a somewhat thoughtful process, but we are hoping to ramp this up as quickly as supply allows us to.”
However, an additional 200,000 county residents will soon be eligible in the next phase, which includes anyone over 70 and people 50 and older who live in multi-generational homes.
The state Department of Health defines a multi-generational home as any residence in which people from two or more generations live.
No date has been given, but the state plans to advance to the next stage by the end of the month.
Before that happens, public health agencies, state leaders and community organizations are working on a “multi-pronged” approach to let people know when they’re eligible, Curtis said.
Already, people can visit www.FindYourPhaseWA.org.
Additionally, health care providers will soon begin outreach to older patients who may not have internet access, Curtis said.
Scheduling your shot
People eligible for a vaccine can visit www.snohd.org/564/COVID-Vaccine-Info to register for the first of their two shots.
The Everett site is at Lot P3 3310 100th St. SW. The Lynnwood clinic is at 20000 68th Ave. W.
Given the current requirements for vaccination, you must arrive to your appointment with a voucher from your employer confirming your eligibility, photo ID and insurance information.
You will be provided with information on the type of COVID vaccine you receive, as well as information on when you need to receive your second dose.
After receiving the shot, you’re required to stay on site for at least 15 minutes, in case you experience immediate side effects.
The health district has plans for additional vaccine clinics, but locations have not been confirmed.