A Note from Jefferson County Health Officer, Dr. Tom Locke (1/25/2021)
There is good reason to be hopeful that the COVID pandemic will one day come to an end as the distribution of two safe and highly effective vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) begins. Clallam and Jefferson Counties are leading the State in deploying these vaccines rapidly. Priorities for vaccination are determined by Washington’s Governor and vaccination administration sites are required to adhere to these restrictions.
At Jefferson County Public Health, we work very closely with Jefferson Healthcare and local pharmacies on COVID vaccine deployment. Whenever vaccine becomes available, scheduling can be done through the Jefferson Healthcare website at COVID-19 Vaccine - Jefferson Healthcare, the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management at 360-344-9791 from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday-Friday and Tri-Area Pharmacy online at https://covidbi.timetap.com/. For Safeway in Port Townsend, visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine and scroll down to Jefferson County for the link. No walk-in sign ups are available; pharmacy staff are unable to schedule these appointments at this time. For QFC in Port Hadlock, https://www.qfc.com/d/flu No walk-in sign ups are available; pharmacy staff are unable to schedule these appointments at this time.
Additional appointments cannot be made until more vaccine is received from the State of Washington. Vaccine supply in only a small fraction of current demand. There are currently 1.2 million Washington State residents 65 years of age and older; over 12,000 in this age group reside in Jefferson County. Washington State receives only 100,000 doses of vaccine per week. If allocated based on eligible populations, Jefferson County senior citizens represent 1% of the State’s total senior population. I estimate about 1,000 doses per week may be available for Jefferson County residents at current distribution levels. As national vaccine production improves and additional vaccines are licensed, access will improve. In the meantime, Jefferson County Public Health is diligently working with all vaccine distribution sites to serve as many people as they can and making plans for future “mass vaccination sites” (school gymnasiums, etc.) when additional vaccine becomes available.
It is not easy to remain patient when COVID-19 remains widespread in WA State but it essential to realize that vaccinating all Jefferson County residents will take months, not days or weeks. Angry demands for immediate vaccine access will not hasten this process and will only increase the stress level of everyone involved. Hospital and Health Department staff have been working long hours (often at significant personal risk) for over 10 months, mounting a community response to this pandemic. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in the tunnel. We should all know how to protect ourselves from COVID-19 exposure by now. It will be necessary to continue these practices – wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance – for the foreseeable future.
For more information regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine in Jefferson County, please visit Jefferson Healthcare’s COVID vaccine page at: https://jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine/#1608318141771-e358d40c-6165
This week we will begin Phase 1a of vaccination, which prioritizes those at highest risk of exposure including healthcare workers, first responders, and long-term care facilities (posted 12/17/2020) See full letter from Jefferson Healthcare and Jefferson County Public Health: Jefferson Healthcare has received our first shipment of COVID-19 Vaccine (PDF)
Please do not contact your health care provider or Jefferson County Public Health regarding your eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Planning
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning. We are working with the federal government and local partners within Washington to plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available.
Washington State COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) required all states and territories to turn in an interim plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution on Oct. 16, 2020. These plans are living documents and will change over time as we learn more about the vaccines and figure out the most equitable way to protect people.
Information From the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
For Healthcare Providers - DOH Information
For more information, visit COVIDVaccineWA.Org