EVERETT — Snohomish County continues to focus on getting COVID vaccine recipients their second dose.
This week, 90% of the 21,000 doses headed for the county are reserved for second shots. This follows a statewide push to ensure everyone gets both doses within a three-to-six-week window.
Meanwhile, there are 70,000 to 80,000 residents 65 and older waiting to secure a first shot.
“Our overall, primary challenge remains getting a sufficient supply to meet demand and our capacity to administer it, especially of doses authorized for use as dose number one,” Snohomish Health District health officer Dr. Chris Spitters told reporters Tuesday. “The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the scene last week offers hope for augmented supply in the long run, but that won’t really manifest until later this or early next month as manufacturing and distribution of that product picks up.”
Despite the lack of first doses, the county’s newest clinic, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, will be open all week, offering what’s left of the single-shot vaccine that arrived last week.
As of Tuesday, all appointments for Wednesday were booked. More will be added to www.prepmod.doh.wa.gov this week, and the best time to check is about 2 p.m.
But a new tool could help the county’s oldest residents secure an appointment. The county’s COVID vaccine call center, at 425-339-5278, now offers a wait list.
“That is for eligible folks, with an emphasis on those who are elderly, unable to navigate the internet system for doing this, or otherwise can’t access the internet,” Spitters said. “So we don’t want everyone calling into that line or we will get inundated and those people whom we’ve dedicated that effort toward could get diluted out.”
Across the county, nearly 70,000 people are fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health, while more than 120,000 are waiting for a second shot.
For those fully vaccinated, it’s safe to socialize with unvaccinated people, without masks, as long as the guests are from the same household, the federal Centers for Disease Control announced Monday.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single shot of Johnson & Johnson.
The number of fully vaccinated county residents has grown drastically in the past month as the state focuses on getting eligible people their second shot.
This week, the county’s shipment of 21,000 doses doesn’t include vaccine coming from the federal pharmacy program, which is currently focused on vaccinating local educators.
On Saturday, the Everett School District, with help from the federal program, hosted its first vaccine clinic at Evergreen Middle School.
More than 600 staff got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, district spokesperson Kathy Reeves said in an email.
This weekend, the Snohomish School District will hold a similar clinic at the high school for 1,100 district staff members.
As more people become protected from COVID, Snohomish County’s two-week case rate is the lowest it’s been since October, health district data show.
In the 14-day period ending Saturday, the county recorded 84 new infections per 100,000 residents. At the peak in November, it was 444 per 100,000.
Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations and rate of death from the virus continue to drop.