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Vaccination off to a good start in Snohomish County

Providence receives 3,900 doses, with more to come

 

Last updated 12/26/2020 at 3:02pm

Photo courtesy of Hakan Nural via pixabay.com

The vaccine effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19 has begun locally. Two vaccines are available to people in high risk professions and those in long term care environments. As more is available, more people will have access.

It's been a long year, and the glimmer of hope from vaccines is being described as a "light at the end of the tunnel."

Vaccinations began last week at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. The hospital received 3,900 doses of the new Pfizer vaccine last week, and began vaccinating health care workers.

"This is good news for our community, our county and our entire country. We can now see the light at the end of these darkest days of the pandemic," said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. "This first round of vaccines will protect those on the frontlines of COVID patient care and individuals most at risk. Though we must remain vigilant as vaccine production ramps up, vaccination gives us all hope for the New Year."

Vaccines will be administered to Providence caregivers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, and will be equitably distributed based on work location and role. Five caregivers were given the vaccine first, as part of a practice run, said a news release by the Snohomish County Health District.

"Providence caregivers have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic longer than anyone in the country," said Dr. Jay Cook, Chief Medical Officer at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. "The arrival of this vaccine is great news for our caregivers and our communities, and is the first step in the long recovery process from this pandemic. We couldn't be more excited to provide this vaccine to those on the frontlines."

The shipment on Thursday Dec. 18 was the first of many expected in Snohomish County in the coming days and weeks. The Washington State Department of Health has indicated that they expect additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be shipped by the end of December, and an additional 183,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine is anticipated as well.

Regular weekly shipments of both vaccines is intended, in January.

"Not only is it coming at a critical time for our healthcare system, but it's something positive for the community to look forward to and a relief for us here at the Health District," said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. "This is an incredible milestone, but we still have miles to go. Please keep up the mask wearing, avoiding gatherings with non-household members, and staying at least six feet apart. Vaccinated or not, we must all keep our guard up until vaccine coverage is high and COVID rates are down."

The first group in Snohomish County eligible for the vaccine - known as Phase 1a - includes 15,000 to 16,000 high-risk workers in health care settings, high-risk first responders, and employees at long-term care and similar adult care settings. In addition to those employees, there are approximately 10,000 to 12,000 residents living in the long-term or adult care facilities that are eligible to receive the vaccine.

While most of those people will receive their vaccines through their employer or facility, the health district is finalizing a voucher program for employees of smaller agencies to be vaccinated by a participating partner. Details on that program were scheduled to be available by the end of December.

The Health District has also launched http://www.snohd.org/covidvaccine to provide a landing spot for reliable information on the COVID vaccines.

Government affairs manager for the health district, Heather Thomas, said the DOH will soon launch a tool that allows someone to know what phase they're in: http://www.covidvaccinewa.org. More links to vaccine information are available through the health district website, here: https://www.snohd.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=471.

 

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