First COVID-19 doses still delayed

Jefferson County pushing for shipments

Jefferson Healthcare has not received a first-dose allotment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in more than a month, making it difficult for residents to begin the two-dose process.

Vaccine shipments from the state have been inconsistent in both Jefferson and Clallam counties due to the limited amount the state receives.

However, second-dose appointments “are virtually guaranteed” after the first shot is given, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

On Monday, Jefferson County added seven new COVID-19 cases that were a mix of positives from Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Locke said.

Clallam County remained clear of any new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

During his Monday morning briefing with the Board of County Commissioners, Locke said the case rate for Jefferson County continued to climb with a total of 41 confirmed for the two weeks prior as of Sunday.

The case rate in the county was 128.53 per 100,000 population for the two weeks prior as of Saturday, Locke said.

The majority of the cases resulted from outbreaks and family households, with one unnamed outbreak having 23 people infected with the novel coronavirus, Locke said.

Locke and Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry have previously said they will not identify where an outbreak is located if their respective departments can trace contacts of potential exposures.

Clallam County’s case rate continued to fall on Monday, with the rate reported at 72 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior, Berry said.

Monday was the first day Clallam County had been in the state’s moderate-risk category since November, she said.

Jefferson Healthcare has been receiving shipments from the state for the second doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, but it hasn’t received first doses in more than a month. However, Locke and hospital CEO Mike Glenn said in a statement posted Monday they hope a shipment will arrive next week.

“Each week, we submit to the state of Washington Department of Health an order for 975-1,950 doses, citing the extraordinary need of our community and the efficient capability of our vaccination team as compelling reasons for additional supply,” Glenn said. “Each week our order has been rejected because of ‘low vaccine supply.’

“I will not pretend that our frustration is on the level of yours, but will say we are extremely frustrated with the vaccine supply process, will continue to hound all possible vaccine sources and commit to running the vaccination center seven days a week as soon as the vaccine is available.”

Local pharmacies such as QFC and Safeway in Port Townsend have received limited doses of Moderna’s vaccine, but vaccine shipments are not expected to become stable until late March or early April, Locke said.

Both counties have the capacity to provide hundreds of vaccinations a day, but the amount of vaccine continues to be the limiting factor, Berry said.

During the mass vaccination clinics in Sequim and Port Angeles, Berry noticed several people did not show up for their appointments and some scheduled appointments at both clinics.

Scheduling appointments at both clinics is a practice Berry strongly urged people to stop, as it takes away appointments for others. If someone has an appointment, they will get the shot, she said.

Berry also advised for appointments to be scheduled for the resident’s nearest the clinic.

Appointment scheduling for COVID-19 vaccination is closed at both of the county levels. However, residents in Jefferson County older than 65 can sign up for notifications for when appointments are available at https://jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine, and Clallam residents should be able to make their first appointments later this week.

Clallam County’s test positivity — the percentage of tests returned positive — was 3.1 percent from Jan. 22 to Feb. 5, Berry said.

Jefferson County’s test positivity was 3.42 percent for Feb. 1-7.

So far this month, Clallam County has confirmed 18 cases of COVID-19, about 1.89 percent of the 954 cases confirmed since last March, according to Clallam County Public Health data.

Jefferson County has confirmed 18 cases of COVID-19, about 5.6 percent of the 322 it has confirmed since last March, according to Jefferson County Public Health data.

Thirty-five COVID-19 cases were active as of Monday in Clallam County, with two people hospitalized.

Jefferson County had 18 active cases.

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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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