PORT ANGELES — Clallam and Jefferson counties are among the leading counties in Washington in terms of numbers of vaccinations, officials say, but getting a predictable and stable supply of vaccines from the state is still a problem.
Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry in her weekly update Friday said that the county has given at least one vaccination shot to 19 percent of its population — about 14,700 people — while Jefferson County isn’t far behind at 16 percent.
“We continue to lead the state” in percentage of people vaccinated, Berry said.
“Clallam County is really knocking it out of the park vaccine-wise,” agreed Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.
Locke said that according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jefferson County is leading the state in percentage of people who have received both doses of the vaccine, with more than 1,000 people having received both doses by Saturday. Locke expects that another 2,000 people in Jefferson County will receive their second dose this week.
Berry said the rest of the 1b1 vaccine group, people over the age of 65, should receive at least their first dose of vaccine by the end of February.
That’s the good news. The bad news is both counties are not receiving a stable and predictable supply of vaccine from the state. Locke said that this week, Jefferson Healthcare will be giving only second doses of vaccines and has no vaccine available for first doses at the moment.
“People want to know when they can get their vaccine. It’s a simple, reasonable question and we can’t answer it,” Locke said.
“The infrastructure is built and ready to distribute vaccine,” Berry said. “We need a stable and reliable amount of vaccine. There’s no window of how much vaccine we’ll receive.”
Locke thinks other areas of the state are getting more vaccines at the moment as state officials try to catch up to where Clallam and Jefferson are in their vaccination success.
Still, Berry said “we’re hopeful that right now we’re in a pretty good position. The only thing I’m really cautious about is people letting their guard down. We just have to do it a little bit longer.”
Berry thinks Clallam County can reach herd immunity to COVID-19 by June.
“It’s not much longer before we can start to see our lives get more normal,” she said.
“The supply is limited. It’s going to be a lot better in March and way better in April,” Locke said.
Clallam reported five new cases Friday and five more Saturday for a total of 954 cases since the pandemic began in March.
The infection rate in Clallam County is 82 per 100,000 over the past two weeks and there are 58 active cases in the county. A woman in her 70s died last week in Clallam County from COVID-19, the fifth death in the county from the disease since the pandemic began.
Jefferson County meanwhile had a slowdown in new cases with just one new case reported Friday and none Saturday.
That gives Jefferson County 315 total cases since the pandemic began in March with 21 active cases in isolation.
The listed infection rate is 106.58, but Locke thinks that number will go up Monday because of a cluster of cases earlier last week. Jefferson County was down to 72 per 100,000 two weeks ago before the cluster became apparent.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]