Washington no longer on pace to beat June 30 vaccine goal

Reaching 70% of adults with at least one shot would trigger the state to drop most COVID-19 restrictions.

EVERETT — Washington is no longer on pace to reach the mark of 70% of adults with one COVID-19 vaccine shot ahead of June 30, officials said Wednesday.

Doing so would trigger Gov. Jay Inslee to drop most of the state’s COVID restrictions on businesses and social activity earlier than anticipated.

But at the current rate, Washington will hit the benchmark at the end of the month, either a few days before or after June 30, state Deputy Secretary of Health Lacey Fehrenbach said during a Wednesday media briefing.

“I do want to make sure it’s crystal clear to the public, we absolutely do have the capacity and the supply to advance early, or reopen the economy early, but we need more people who are not vaccinated in that 16 or older category to step up and get vaccinated,” she said.

As of Wednesday, 63% of adults statewide had received at least one shot. But the state’s daily average of vaccinations has dropped to about 33,000. A few weeks ago, it was in the high 40,000s.

With fewer people rushing to get their shots, public health officials have spent the past month shifting from mass vaccination sites to mobile clinics to target communities that have had a harder time accessing vaccines.

Public health officials are urging anyone who’s been vaccinated to help friends or family members who haven’t gotten a shot, and to address any barriers they face.

They are also calling on employers to make it easier for their workers to get a shot. That includes providing time off to make an appointment, or sick leave if employees experience symptoms from a vaccine.

“It will take all of us and it will take time to make sure that everybody has access to vaccines,” Assistant Secretary of Health Michele Roberts said.

On Monday, the state Department of Health launched a vaccine service called Care-A-Van that delivers doses to groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Community groups and other organizations can request a state-run vaccine event by visiting www.fortress.wa.gov/doh/opinio/s?s=DOHCareAVan, or by emailing equity@doh.wa.gov.

Locally, the Snohomish Health District has a similar program. Groups interested in arranging a community-based clinic with the county’s vaccine task force can call 425-339-5278.

Next week, the task force will host pop-up clinics at Archbishop Murphy High School and Evergreen Middle School in Everett. For more information on community-based clinics, visit www.snohd.org/564/COVID-Vaccine-Info or call 425-339-5278.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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