Sequim resident Susan Sorensen is ready for her COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim resident Susan Sorensen is ready for her COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Huge turnouts seen at drive-through clinics

PORT ANGELES — Drive-through vaccination clinics in Sequim and Forks tried residents’ patience as they waited in long lines for hours but yet didn’t always get the COVID-19 shot.

A line of cars stretches back to back to the U.S. Highway 101/Simdars Road exit from the registration site at 100 S. Blake Ave., by about 9:24 a.m. Thursday during Sequim’s first drive-through vaccination clinic. Some 500 were vaccinated and three times that many were turned away. Another Sequim first-come, first-served clinic was on Saturday and more are planned from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. this coming Thursday and Saturday. (John Gussman)

A line of cars stretches back to back to the U.S. Highway 101/Simdars Road exit from the registration site at 100 S. Blake Ave., by about 9:24 a.m. Thursday during Sequim’s first drive-through vaccination clinic. Some 500 were vaccinated and three times that many were turned away. Another Sequim first-come, first-served clinic was on Saturday and more are planned from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. this coming Thursday and Saturday. (John Gussman)

Clinics were conducted in Sequim Thursday and Saturday with check-in at the Trinity United Methodist Church at 100 S. Blake Ave, and are planned also for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this coming Thursday and Saturday.

In Forks, clinics were Friday and Saturday at the branch campus of Peninsula College at 481 S. Forks Ave.

Cars line up in Forks during a vaccination clinic.

Port Angeles’ clinics began this weekend, but were by appointment only, as Jefferson County’s clinics will be this week.

In Sequim, COVID-19 vaccine efforts could turn out to include a camping element.

Dr. Molly Martin, deputy medical director at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Community Emergency Response Team member Jim Johnston help individuals get registered for COVID-19 vaccinations at the tribe’s clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Dr. Molly Martin, deputy medical director at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Community Emergency Response Team member Jim Johnston help individuals get registered for COVID-19 vaccinations at the tribe’s clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Interest in the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s vaccination clinics was massive, with about 500 vaccines performed and about 1,500 residents turned away Thursday, according to Brent Simcosky, the tribe’s health director.

Sequim resident Susan Sorensen is ready for her COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim resident Susan Sorensen is ready for her COVID-19 vaccination shot at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

One woman who received the vaccine told Simcosky she had been isolating in her home since March.

“This is a group that wants to be vaccinated (and) we’re happy to be doing this,” he said at the clinic site.

The first person to receive a vaccine at the clinic had camped out the night before, Simcosky said.

When that person received the vaccination shot “people were honking their horns and cheering,” he said.

The first clinic’s overwhelming turnout had some residents considering camping out to get in line for for upcoming vaccine clinic dates.

Dan Orr, Fire District 3 assistant chief, said he saw about 90 vehicles lined up by the time he arrived at 6 a.m.

Jamestown Family Health Clinic staff prep COVID-19 vaccination shots at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Jamestown Family Health Clinic staff prep COVID-19 vaccination shots at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Residents who reported getting in line for vaccinations by 8 a.m. Thursday were turned away, with the line to get registered crawling back to the U.S. Highway 101/Simdars Road exit.

“If you didn’t get into the Jamestown line (on Thursday) … there will be more events coming soon,” Dr. Allison Berry, Clallam County health officer, has said.

“The goal is to get to herd immunity,” Simcosky said.

“We can see the light at the end of a tunnel. That’s what it feels like.”

In Forks, vehicles began lining up at about 7 a.m. for the 10 a.m. clinic. They filled the turn lane on Forks Avenue and overflowed into the Forks High School vocational shop parking lot as well as into the Forks Transit Center.

Members of the Community Emergency Response Team organize material at the registration checkpoint of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Members of the Community Emergency Response Team organize material at the registration checkpoint of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Jan. 14. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

City Attorney Rod Fleck directed traffic with a Star Wars light saber.

Others helping out were Forks Community Hospital administrators, Fire Chief Bill Paul, Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley, Emergency Medical Technician Tim Wade and Quillayute Valley Superintendent Diana Reaume volunteered the entire day and were back Saturday. Members of Coast Guard Sation Quillayute River also show up to help.

Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

On Friday 260 vaccinations were given. Saturday things were moving smoother with 80 vaccines given by 11 a.m. They had 300 doses available for Saturday.

“It was truly remarkable the way all agencies were able to come together and organize a successful vaccination clinic in less than a week’s time,” said Janet Schade, hospital pharmacist.

“Our community should be proud of what we accomplished.”

Berry said that by the end of Saturday, about 7,000 people would have received vaccinations for COVID-19.

Graphic courtesy of Washington Department of Health

Graphic courtesy of Washington Department of Health

That figure includes health care workers and first responders included in the initial round of vaccinations that began in December and now high-risk people over 70 (and some caregivers over 50 in the Forks area) beginning last week.

Clallam County initially used Pfizer vaccine but now vaccinations of residents is with the Moderna vaccine.

Clallam County reported seven new cases Friday and three more Saturday. Berry said the county is no longer seeing an uptick of cases from New Year’s Eve gatherings.

Clallam County now has 864 confirmed cases with an infection rate of 154 per 100,000 over the past two weeks and 85 active cases in the county. One person is currently in the hospital with COVID-19.

Both Jefferson and Clallam counties are in Phase 1B1 of the state’s vaccination plan. Because of limited amount of vaccine (as of Jan. 13), Clallam County has restricted vaccines to residents older than 70 and Jefferson County to residents 85 and older.

In Jefferson County, appointments can be made online at https://jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine/ or by calling 360-344-9791.

Jefferson County reported seven new cases Friday and none Saturday for 269 total since March. Jefferson has 20 active cases in isolation with an infection rate of 125.39 per 100,000 over the past two weeks.

Vaccinations in Clallam County are for people 70 and older. Jefferson County went with 85 and older because they are the highest risk group and vaccine supply is limited, according to Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County health officer.

Both Berry and Locke think that despite the news that the promised federal reserve of vaccine doses ready to be sent out to the states doesn’t exist, more c doses should arrive by mid-February.

“Vaccines will be cut. We don’t know how much,” Berry said. “They won’t be cut to zero. There could be a two-week pause in mass vaccinations.”

Berry said people getting one dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines might have to wait an extra couple of weeks to get the second dose, depending on how much this area is affected.

“We don’t have a lot of cushion, but it’s not an emergency,” Berry said.

Locke said Moderna and Pfizer are ramping up their vaccines and that vaccines from other manufacturers are on the way.

Berry said that the county is hoping to vaccinate 4,000 more people in the next 10 days, or about 12 percent of the population of the county.

Now is not the time for people to hold parties or otherwise drop their guard.

”If we take the eye off the ball and start gathering too soon, we will lose all the progress we have made,” Berry said. “It would be a terrible waste to let the virus get out of control now.”

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]

Sequim Gazette Editor Michael Dashiell, Forks Forum Editor Christi Baron and Peninsula Daily News Executive Editor Leah Leach contributed to this story.

Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell
Lesli Mays, left, and Donna Short prepare COVID-19 vaccination shots at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s clinic on Thursday. Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Lesli Mays, left, and Donna Short prepare COVID-19 vaccination shots at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s clinic on Thursday. Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group

John Gussman
A line of cars stretches back to  back to the U.S. Highway 101/Simdars Road exit from the registration site at 100 S. Blake Ave., by about 9:24 a.m. Thursday during Sequim's first drive-through vaccination clinic. Some 500 were vaccinated and three times that many were turned away. Another Sequim first-come, first-served clinic was on Saturday and more are planned from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. this coming Thursday and Saturda.

More in News

Peninsula COVID-19 cases, infection rates reported

Sunday’s toll: 12 more in Clallam, none in Jefferson

Geoduck harvesting fatal for Port Angeles diver, 35

Air cord apparently tangled in debris

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Children run beneath a volley of tempra paint cannons at the start of Saturday's 1k Sun Fun Color Run at Carrie Blake Park, a featured event of the inaugural Sequim Sunshine Festival. The two-day fete, a celebration of Sequim's "sunny" reputation, featured a wide variety of events, displays, performances and activities.
Sequim Sunshine Festival kicking off March 5

The City of Sequim’s second Sequim Sunshine Festival is back… Continue reading

Increased vaccine supply expected on Peninsula in April

Clinics continue for those in specified age groups

Joan and Bill Henry of Sequim stroll along the Johnson Creek Trestle, part of the Olympic Discovery Trail spanning Johnson Creek east of Sequim. The 410-foot-long trestle was refurbished in 2003 from a former railroad span and opened to pedestrian traffic. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Spanning the trestle

Joan and Bill Henry of Sequim stroll along the Johnson Creek Trestle,… Continue reading

Leo Goolden stands in the wooden hull of Tally Ho, a 1910 cutter he is restoring in the Sequim area. Goolden posted a YouTube video Sunday discussing issues he's had with a neighbor and Clallam County's Department of Community Development. (Sampson Boat Co. via YouTube)
Boat restoration project may be asked to move

Video series documents building efforts since 2017

Clallam, Jefferson officials encourage any of three COVID-19 vaccines

Johnson & Johnson receives emergency use authorization

Most Read