Access to free COVID-19 vaccines widens to pharmacies, clinics

Health officers: All three protect well against variants

PORT TOWNSEND — COVID-19 vaccines are readily available on the North Olympic Peninsula and provide immunity to the virus and its highly-contagious variants, Jefferson County Health Officer Tom Locke said.

A decision to eschew to a free inoculation could lead to protection earned the hard way, Locke said.

“My concern is that people that don’t get vaccinated are going to get infected over the course of the summer and in the fall,” Locke said in a Sunday interview.

“They’ll get some immunity that way, but that’s immunity the hard way.”

No new cases of COVID-19 or coronavirus deaths were reported Sunday by Locke or his Clallam County counterpart, Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry.

Clallam County has had 1,345 cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths since March 2020, Berry said.

Jefferson County has had 416 cases and four deaths in its COVID-19 response, Locke said.

Clallam County was in the state’s moderate-risk category with a two-week case rate of 38 per 100,000 population, Berry said in a Sunday text message.

Jefferson County had a two-week case rate of 28 per 100,000 — near the low end of the moderate-risk range of 25 to 75 per 100,000.

“The virus isn’t gone,” Berry said in her last scheduled COVID-19 briefing Friday.

“It’s as serious as it always has been if you are unvaccinated. In fact, it is more serious than it was before.”

Berry and Locke said the COVID-19 variants like B117 are spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations in the state. The variants are associated with more severe symptoms and are more contagious than the virus as it emerged last year.

The variants are well controlled by the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Berry said.

“We’re making the case for vaccination,” Locke said.

“Now’s the time to get off the fence and get vaccinated.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is free to those who want it.

The state has a vaccination locator at https:// vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov — or at 1-833-829-4357 — which allows users to see where appointments are available and which vaccine will be used. While all state residents 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated, anyone younger than 18 can receive only Pfizer’s vaccine.

The Clallam and Jefferson county health departments also have vaccine information tailored to their populations.

Appointments are available at Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco, QFC and Safeway throughout the region as well as at Tri-Area Pharmacy, which serves Port Hadlock and Chimacum.

“Pharmacies generally have ready access, and then the hospitals and the clinics are kind of moving it into the clinic setting,” Locke said Sunday.

“You can get vaccinated as part of a regular medical visit, or in the case of Jefferson Healthcare, you don’t have to have a visit.”

Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend offers walk-in vaccination with the “one-and-done” Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people 18 and older through the Express Clinic. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Beginning last Thursday, patients enrolled with a Jefferson Healthcare primary care provider have been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine immediately following a regularly scheduled appointment at the Sheridan, Watership or Townsend clinics in Port Townsend.

Also on Thursday, Olympic Medical Physicians (OMP) began offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to its patients.

OMP administers Pfizer vaccine by appointment only through Olympic Medical Center’s COVID-19 drive-through testing site in the parking lot just west of the OMP administration office at 1035 Caroline St. in Port Angeles.

Appointments, offered Wednesdays and Thursdays for any OMP patient 12 or older, can be made by calling 360-565-0999.

For those 17 or younger, a parent or guardian must complete and sign a consent form. Forms can be completed prior to, or at the time of, appointments.

After vaccination, patients can expect to remain in their cars for 15 to 30 minutes, based on their health conditions, to observe for potential reactions.

The Jamestown Family Health Clinic at 808 N. Fifth Ave. in Sequim is continuing to offer Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to anyone in Clallam County who is 18 or older, according to the clinic’s website.

Vaccinations are typically provided between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To schedule the first dose, call 360-683-5900.

North Olympic Healthcare Network in Port Angeles is offering access to the COVID-19 vaccine to its patients.

Forks Community Hospital will offer second doses of Moderna at the Peninsula College branch at 481 S. Forks Ave. from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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