Olympic Peninsula counties leading vaccine efforts

Jefferson tops state; Clallam at 57 percent

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the state for second-dose COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible residents, Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke said Sunday.

Sixty-eight percent of Jefferson County citizens who are 16 and older had received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine, and 57 percent were fully immunized, tops among the 39 counties.

“We’re No. 1 in terms of fully completed,” Locke said in a Sunday interview.

“A lot of that has to do with we got a really early start.”

San Juan County, which had three National Guard mass vaccination events in the past month, was leading the state in first-dose vaccinations for eligible residents. Nearly 70 percent of those 16 and older San Juan County had received at least one shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, Locke said.

Clallam County isn’t far behind the state leaders in the race for COVID-19 immunity.

As of Friday, 57 percent of eligible Clallam County residents had received a first dose and 50 percent were fully immunized, Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry said.

“Those are good numbers,” Berry said in her weekly COVID-19 briefing Friday.

“We have certainly seen them start to plateau a little bit, and so we are really encouraging folks if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, now is the time.”

Both counties have large supplies of COVID-19 vaccine.

To find a site in Jefferson County, see www.co.jefferson.wa.us and click on “COVID-19 updates” at the top of the page or phone 360-344-9791.

In Clallam County, visit www.clallam.net/coronavirus or phone 360-417-2430.

People who are homebound or without transportation are encouraged to call their county’s emergency operations center number to arrange delivery.

Jefferson County had no new COVID-19 cases reported Sunday, Locke said. Jefferson County has had 402 cases since March 2020.

Clallam County had 1,284 reported cases in its pandemic response as of Saturday.

Berry had no new numbers to report Sunday because she gave her staff the day off for Mother’s Day.

“I’m still on call for emergencies,” Berry said in a Sunday text message.

“No emergencies to report.”

In her Friday briefing, Berry said children 12 and older were expected to become eligible for the Pfizer vaccine within the next two weeks.

“We are likely to get approval for Pfizer for (children) 5-and-up sometime this summer, which means likely going into the fall, we could have all of our school-aged kids available for vaccination,” Berry said.

Jefferson County health officials also are planning to roll out vaccinations for younger populations.

“We want to be able to do that efficiently when that becomes available,” Locke said.

“We’re going to have to do a lot this summer to get ready for the school year and to try to make it a more normal school year.”

Locke attributed Jefferson County’s high vaccination rates to its early planning, demographics and participation from hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

Jefferson County has the oldest population in the state with 37 percent of its residents 65 and older, the first group to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“They’re also the group with the highest percentage actually wanting to get vaccinated, an excess of 85 percent,” Locke said.

“So that high percentage of seniors in Jefferson County is one of the reason that we’re a little higher than other counties.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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