COVID vaccination appointments fill up fast

Over 70 in Clallam, over 85 in Jefferson

Appointment slots for the upcoming weekend vaccination clinics in Port Angeles were filled by early afternoon Wednesday.

Between the four days this weekend and next, the Port Angeles clinics have about 500 appointments scheduled for each day, said Dr. Allison Berry Unthank, Clallam County health officer.

Also on Wednesday, Clallam County confirmed 12 new cases of COVID-19, while Jefferson County confirmed two new cases, said Unthank and Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

The new cases in Clallam County are tied to New Year’s Eve gatherings and a small unnamed church that is under an outbreak investigation by Clallam County Public Health. The church now has a total of eight cases, Unthank said.

Unthank and Locke have said they do not identify facilities with confirmed cases unless the businesses do not cooperate with contact tracing.

The number of people attempting to schedule vaccination appointments in Port Angeles overloaded the county server and crashed the website at www.clallam.net/HHS on Wednesday morning.

Unthank was glad many people are taking advantage of the vaccination program.

“It feels good to be moving forward with this,” said Unthank. “Certainly, one of the biggest challenges is we don’t have enough vaccine for everybody.

“We are happy here to be able to move into phase 1B1, as we’re ahead of much of the state in that move.”

Shipments of vaccine from the state currently are irregular due to other areas like Seattle that are behind in vaccinating the 1A group, but it’s hoped that the shipments will become more regular in a couple weeks, Locke said.

“Our plan and hope is to, as soon as we have adequate vaccinations available in our community, have mass vaccination events weekly until we can get the majority of our population vaccinated,” Unthank said.

Due to the limited amount of vaccine, Clallam County is focusing on getting vaccinations to people older than 70, and Jefferson County is restricting vaccines to people older than 85, Unthank and Locke said.

Additional age groups and caregivers in multi-generational households older than 50 will be added later.

Jefferson Healthcare opened appointment sign-ups for next week on Thursday, and Sequim and Forks residents also have vaccination clinics this week, with information at www. peninsuladailynews.com.

Jefferson Healthcare is taking appointments starting at 9 a.m. today for next week for Jefferson residents older than 85 through its vaccine webpage, https:// jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine, or by calling emergency management at 360-344-9791, said Amy Yaley, Jefferson Healthcare spokesperson.

Tri-Area Pharmacy will partner with Jefferson Healthcare to help administer vaccines and will use the above link for appoints as well. Appointments will be available Tuesday, Jan. 19 and Thursday, Jan. 21, at the Tri-Area Pharmacy in Port Hadlock.

The Sequim clinic will be a drive-through first-come first served clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, as well as Jan. 19, 21 and 23. A tent will be next to the James Center for the Performing Arts band shell in Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave.

The check-in location will be in the parking lot at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim.

The Forks clinic will be stationed Friday and Saturday at the Peninsula College campus parking area, 481 S. Forks Ave. Vaccinations will be available for those in the Phase 1B group — 70 or older and people 50 or older in a multigenerational household — from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

People should bring photo ID and arrive at 10 a.m. and remain in their car until they receive instructions. There will be about 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine each day.

So far this month, Clallam County has confirmed 105 cases, about 12.3 percent of the 854 it has confirmed since March, according to Clallam County Public Health data.

Jefferson County has confirmed 40 cases of COVID-19, about 15.4 percent of the 260 it has confirmed since March, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

Ninety-eight COVID-19 cases were active as of Wednesday in Clallam County.

Jefferson County had 17 active cases, with two cases currently hospitalized and one in the Intensive Care Unit.

The test positivity on the Peninsula — the percentage of tests returned positive — was 5.3 percent in Clallam County for Dec. 27 to Jan. 9 and 3.18 percent in Jefferson County for Jan. 4-10.

Both counties are in the state’s high-risk category, with case rates of 144 cases per 100,000 population for the two weeks prior as of Wednesday, and Jefferson County at 125.39 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Monday..

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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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