PORT TOWNSEND — COVID-19 vaccination clinics begin this week in Jefferson County.
The Tri-Area Pharmacy has partnered with Jefferson Healthcare to assist with the administering of the Pfizer vaccine to people 85 and older. Appointments were being made beginning last Thursday for Tuesday and Thursday this week at the Port Hadlock-based pharmacy.
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.
In Clallam County, Dr. Allison Berry said that by the end of Saturday, about 7,000 people will have received vaccinations for COVID-19.
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.
Berry also spoke about the news this week that the promised federal reserve of vaccine doses ready to be sent out to the states doesn’t exist.
She didn’t think this would cause major problems locally, but that it could result in as much as a two-week lag in deliveries of new vaccines.
“Vaccines will be cut.We don’t know how much,” she 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.
She expects that by mid-February, increased production will be seen from the drug manufacturers to counteract the lack of reserve.
“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.
After participating in a statewide conference call on vaccinations Saturday, Locke agreed that regular shipments of vaccine by mid-February was a reasonable goal.
Locke added that he is hopeful that with a new federal administration in charge, the production and distribution of vaccines will improve and that there will be a more science-based approach to the pandemic.
“It’s a huge thing that it’s [Trump Administration] is over,” he said. .
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. She expects that clinics will be focusing on people over the age of 70 through February.
She stressed that now is not the time for people to hold parties or otherwise drop their guard, even if they have received their first vaccination. She pointed out that people are not fully protected against COVID-19 until about four to six weeks after their second vaccination.
”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.”
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.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached at [email protected]