COVID-19 vaccination clinics to be on hold next week in Clallam

Jefferson Healthcare expanding vaccine availability to 75 and older

Vaccination clinics in Clallam County will be on hold next week, as officials wait to receive more doses and work on giving the second doses to some, while Jefferson Healthcare hospital announced that appointments can be made by people 75 years old and older to receive the vaccine.

Five new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Thursday in Clallam County, while Jefferson County added one new case, according to county public health data.

Vaccinations continue to be at the forefront of local health officials’ planning.

While Jefferson Healthcare opened appointments Wednesday morning to expand to people 75 and older, by the afternoon, the hospital’s appointment website https://jefferson healthcare.org/covid- 19-vaccine/ said appointments were full.

Officials estimate that by the end of this week about 4,000 people in Jefferson County will have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, more than 10 percent of the total population. Even so, it will take weeks for the county to finish the current 1B1 group, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

“I think [vaccinations] have been going very smoothly. It’s just the frustration that people are feeling that there’s just not enough vaccine to provide it for everyone who wants it right now,” Locke said.

“We’re glad the vaccine is very popular.

“It should be popular. It’s a great vaccine. It’s highly effective. It’s very safe. But it will take us probably four to seven months to vaccinate every person in Washington state who wants to be vaccinated.”

In Clallam County, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is continuing its first-come first-served vaccination clinics in Sequim today and Saturday for people 70 years old and up, but clinics are on hold next week due to vaccine supply.

The tribe will start up again on Feb. 2, offering clinics on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but using a new reservation system, according to a press release.

Vaccination clinics are planned in Port Angeles this weekend. The appointments are booked already, and no walk-ins will be taken, said Dr. Allison Berry, Clallam County health officer.

Both Berry and Locke are working on planning future mass vaccination events. Planning is completely dependant on when, how much and how consistently vaccine will be delivered to the North Olympic Peninsula.

“We never know how much [vaccine] exactly we’re going to get, but we know we do have enough to get through all the vaccinations planned this week,” Berry said.

“But we’re likely to not get enough to hold mass vaccinations next week.”

Berry also urges people who have recently received vaccines to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“The vaccines are fantastic, but they do take five to six weeks to work and while they’re very effective, they’re not 100 percent effective,” Berry said. “You do still need both.”

So far this month, Clallam County has confirmed 130 cases, about 14.8 percent of the 879 it has confirmed since March, according to Clallam County Public Health data.

Jefferson County has confirmed 54 cases of COVID-19, about 19.7 percent of the 274 it has confirmed since March, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

Ninety-six COVID-19 cases were active as of Monday in Clallam County, with one person hospitalized.

Jefferson County had 12 active cases.

The test positivity on the Peninsula — the percentage of tests returned positive — was 6.9 percent in Clallam County for Jan. 2-16, and 3.23 percent in Jefferson County for Jan. 11-17.

Clallam County had a case rate of 141 per 100,000 population for the two weeks prior as of Monday.

Jefferson County’s case rate was at about 116 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Saturday.

Both counties are in the state’s high risk category.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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