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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 26, 2021
CONTACT: Snohomish County Joint Information Center 425-388-5171 firstname.lastname@example.org
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Everyone can help vaccination efforts go smoothly by seeking and sharing reliable information about vaccination sites, appointments and eligibility.
All Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce mass vaccination sites are for those who are eligible in the phased approach to vaccination. Check www.findyourphasewa.org if you are not sure if you’re eligible and to get verification. The mass vaccination sites do perform spot checks for eligibility and people without verification can be turned away at the site.
The list of who is eligible has been expanding, and by May 1 all adults are expected to be eligible. Please be patient. We know the wait can be frustrating.
Rumors circulated this week that sites were administering surplus doses to anyone. Those rumors are false. Doses administered at the sites are not surplus. Appointments continue to fill when they are available.
People who are eligible can sign up for vaccination appointments using the links under “Register” at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine. When new appointments are open for online registration, updates also are posted to the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management social media channels.
Some of the links circulated this week also were specifically for second doses. Unfortunately, they were shared with inaccurate information suggesting anyone could sign up for a first dose. The taskforce sent emails to those who booked appointments and shared updates via social media and to the call center to inform people to cancel appointments if they mistakenly signed up for a first dose. Hundreds of people were turned away from the vaccination site in Arlington because they arrived for a first dose at a second dose only clinic. This slowed down operations, and it was understandably frustrating for those asked to leave without a shot.
Second doses are requested and received based on first doses administered, so it is crucial that these designated second doses go toward fully vaccinating people who received their first shot.
While sharing a second dose clinic link with friends or family who need first doses may be tempting, as may sharing posts or messages you see about surplus doses, please be cautious with what you share. Misinformation hinders vaccination efforts.
Please also remember that the PrepMod system is for appointment registration. It does not serve as eligibility verification. People should check their eligibility using www.findyourphasewa.org and also refer to eligibility information provided on the mass vaccination webpage and in the PrepMod clinic information before signing up for appointments. Bring verification of eligibility to the appointment (i.e., your Phase Finder confirmation), as you may be asked to provide it.
The Snohomish Health District has been seeing a growing number of cases involving youth and school sports. Within the last week, the team has investigated at least 10 cases that played or practiced on school sports teams while contagious. Those cases have led to more than 100 close contacts being identified and quarantined.
Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had cases associated with numerous sports, including football, volleyball, soccer, swimming, basketball, hockey, and softball, as well as general weight training.
“Schools, teachers and students are doing a great job with prevention measures in the classroom, but we need players, coaches and families to keep that up on and off the court, field, rink or pool as well,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “The impression we get from contact investigations, and the findings from elsewhere related to sporting outbreaks, is that the breakdown in prevention is happening amongst teammates off the field or court.”
This means in locker rooms, on the bus or in a carpool to and from games, in the parking lot, when breaking for snacks or water, and during get-togethers after the games.
“We remain in the midst of a pandemic and remain vulnerable to getting hit by a fourth wave, particularly if we let our guard down prematurely,” added Dr. Spitters.
To help keep sports and other aspects of life going safely and smoothly:
Based on data through March 23, more than 114,000 Snohomish County residents are now fully vaccinated. That represents 17 percent of all residents 16 years or older in the county.
With the increasing number of vaccine doses being administered, it is becoming harder to extract data on a regular basis and to differentiate between the type of vaccine administered. To simplify those efforts and provide a clearer bottom line on our progress, the Health District has adjusted how data will be released, as shown in the table below and online at www.snohd.org/covidvaccine.
As a reminder, the data provided is just a snapshot in time. Shipments arrive several days to a week after being allocated. Many providers wait to schedule appointments until vaccine are on hand, with plans to hold clinics with those doses occurring later in the week or over weekends. Entry of data from those clinics can sometimes lag a few days behind. Meanwhile, vaccine doses administered through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program have to be merged with the statewide reporting system to generate a unified count.
While doses allocated exceeding doses administered in the data tables may create the impression of a large surplus of vaccine available, these factors mentioned exaggerate the true surplus as recording of doses received lags behind allocation figures. Know that vaccine throughput remains high in this dynamic process and that the numbers of doses coming in and going out change daily as we keep vaccine moving from suppliers to vaccinators and into the arms of our community.
Even with improving supply, it will take quite some time to get Snohomish County fully vaccinated. The goal remains to achieve complete vaccination of all eligible individuals who want to be vaccinated.
National estimates suggest up to 80 percent of adults want to be vaccinated or are interested in vaccination. In Snohomish County, a target figure of 600,000 people represents roughly 90 percent of those adults whom we estimate are interested in being vaccinated.
The speed of vaccination progress is largely dependent on supply. At mass vaccination sites in the county, the capacity to administer vaccine exceeds the current supply.
Looking at future allocations, including state allocations to providers and federal allocations to pharmacies, we anticipate nearly 50,000 doses per week. At that pace, the target of 600,000 vaccinated adults could be reached by mid-August.
If the supply is less, say closer to 35,000, that timeline stretched to mid-October. At 25,000, it would take until around the new year to vaccinate 600,000. These are hypothetical scenarios, but they point out that even with ideal vaccine supply, it will take at least several months to vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated.
Increased supply is needed to reach target vaccination numbers by this summer. Please be patient as eligibility expands and more people are seeking a limited number of appointments. At this time, the estimated demand is between 10 and 15 eligible people for every first or single dose vaccine received each week.
As work continues toward fully vaccinating people in Snohomish County, it is crucial that everyone maintain health measures like masking, distancing and keeping gatherings small and, if at all possible, outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces. The threat of going backward on our efforts to reduce the spread of illness and reversing current steps toward reopening society is a real concern. A best-case scenario for widespread immunity through vaccination in Snohomish County is four to five months, and with lesser supply of vaccine it is more likely to take six to nine months. Everyone’s help is needed in keeping up the good habits during those months.
The schedule for the week of March 29 remains as follows:
Appointments for testing are encouraged, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.