State of transitions from mass vaccination sites to mobile clinics – Methow Valley news
The revised approach targets people with limited access
About four months after the state’s efforts to distribute doses of COVID-19 vaccines began at state-hosted mass immunization events, the state Department of Health (DOH) announced the last week its intention to move to mobile vaccination clinics.
This new phase of vaccine awareness will help the state reach people who have encountered barriers in accessing vaccines and help distribute life-saving vaccines more equitably and easily in Washington state, DOH said. .
Tonasket-based North Valley Hospital launched its own mobile vaccination effort in early May, targeting remote communities in the hospital district, including Loomis and Wauconda. The neighborhood used a small bus it already owned, with a small refrigerator to transport the vaccine.
North Valley Hospital District CEO John McReynolds said state-level changes will not have a direct impact on local efforts.
“In Okanogan County, we are grappling with the same problem that large mass immunization events take a lot of time and labor to plan, organize, set up and staff. When we have fewer people coming to big events, we cross a threshold where it no longer makes sense, ”he said.
“As we move forward, delivering vaccines to more traditional (clinics and pharmacies) and non-traditional (pop-up or mobile clinics) locations will likely replace mass vaccination events,” McReynolds said.
Locally, Aero Methow Rescue Service and Methow Valley School District hosted immunization events, with help from providers including family health centers, while Okanogan County Fairground hosted large events. in the central part of the county.
Family Health Centers (FHC) are still planning big events to immunize farm workers, including events scheduled for May 28 and June 1. During these two events, the FHC plans to vaccinate just under 950 people.
“Since opening on January 26, our four state-run mass vaccination sites have administered nearly 300,000 doses of the vaccine,” said Health Secretary Umair A. Shah. “This remarkable achievement could not have been achieved without the hard work of the staff of DOH, the Washington National Guard, our local and private partners, as well as members of our community who visited these sites to get vaccinated. . This transition does not close the door to vaccine opportunities, but opens several new ones that will allow more equitable access to vaccines in the future. “
State mobile immunization units have already administered 32,000 doses of the vaccine. The DOH plans to make more announcements about mobile vaccine providers in the coming weeks.
The state’s mass vaccination site in Spokane will remain open, the Ridgefield and Kennewick sites will close, and a Wenatchee site will transfer management to the Chelan-Douglas health district.
More than 6.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the state, according to the DOH, and more than 59% of people 16 and older have received at least one dose.
“For the first time, we are seeing how many 12 to 15 year olds are vaccinated in Washington since eligibility was extended to the younger age group on May 13,” DOH reported in a press release.
The DOH reported that between May 13 and May 15, 27,934 people aged 12 to 15 received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Washington – 7.4% of that population and more than double the rate of national vaccination average of 3.6% for 12 to 15 years.
“The DOH is proud that thousands of families are choosing to have their children vaccinated to protect them and help us prevent the spread of the virus,” the new version says.
On Thursday, May 20, Pfizer updated its vaccine guidelines, allowing providers to store it in a normal refrigerator for up to a month after thawing, said Julie Wehmeyer, head of employee health and infection control. in family health centers. Due to this change, FHC’s Twisp Clinic will have a limited number of Pfizer vaccines starting this week for children 12 years and older.
“If anyone is interested in their child receiving this vaccine, please call the Twisp FHC clinic,” she said.
The DOH is encouraging families to catch up on other vaccinations that students may have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and reported that the CDC is advising people to get other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.
The DOH also announced this week the creation of its “Vaccine Marketplace,” which will function as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for vaccine suppliers. Providers can report on the program, attached to the state immunization information system, when they receive additional doses.
“Before placing weekly vaccine orders, we strongly encourage suppliers to check the IIS marketplace to see if there are already vaccines available nearby,” the DOH reported. “The program will help with vaccine transfers and reduce vaccine wastage.
This week, Washington was to receive 380,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government.
Still need a shot?
For more information on how to get vaccinated in Okanogan County or to sign up for a vaccination through the county portal, visit https://okanogancountycovid19.org/covid-19-vaccine.
All the sites of the family health centers give the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines by appointment, Confluence Health in Omak gives the vaccine every Wednesday by appointment and every Friday, the vaccines are available without an appointment from 11 a.m. at 1 p.m. at the Okanogan Fairgrounds, with Pfizer and Moderna available. Patients aged 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.