Inslee vaccine plan raises concerns

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — While the state struggles to bolster its vaccination distribution efforts, the Washington Department of Health has begun reporting its most updated vaccination numbers on its online COVID-19 data dashboard.

The dashboard, launched months ago, updates Washingtonians every day on the state’s latest number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations, tests and other information. On Tuesday evening, vaccination data was added to the list.

As of Monday night, 294,386 doses had been given, with a seven-day average of 14,064 per day. The state’s goal is to reach 45,000 vaccine doses per day, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday, promising to add new vaccination sites, mobilize thousands of workers and make everyone 65 and over immediately eligible.

But The Seattle Times reports there is pushback from the health community to Inslee’s plan for meeting the new goal. Instead of waiting for vaccines to arrive before making appointments, providers should operate on the assumption that more supplies are coming and cancel appointments if necessary, Inslee said.

“We have really serious concerns about this idea,” said Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer at a briefing with several other hospital leaders. Nurses would be pulled away from other work for vaccinations that might not happen.

And, Sauer said, “I believe the public outrage at having a vaccine appointment scheduled and then canceled will be extreme and will really undermine the confidence in our vaccine delivery system.”

In King County, the state’s most populous and home to Seattle, 109,120 doses have been administered. Pierce County, home to Tacoma, which has given the second-highest number of shots, has administered 33,845 doses, according to state health officials.

The dashboard also reported more than 607,000 doses have been delivered to state health care providers and nearly 89,000 doses have been delivered for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s long-term care vaccination program. About 42% of the delivered doses have been administered, officials said.

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