King County is planning on spending $7 million to create two high-volume community vaccination sites as soon as February 1.
The sites will serve people at the highest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 first and eventually open to all members of the public as more vaccine becomes available.
“King County will step up and organize community vaccination centers and mobile teams to make sure we hit the ground running as more and more people become eligible to receive doses,” said Executive Dow Constantine in a news briefing Friday morning.
“To get this pandemic under control, 16,000 adults must be vaccinated every day for six months. That’s why we need everyone behind this effort. We are moving ahead now despite the lack of clarity on supply chain or federal funding allocation because every day delayed impacts the lives of our residents, the strength of our community, and the vitality of our businesses.”
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In addition to the two high-volume community vaccination sites which will likely be located in South King County, five mobile strike teams will form to reach those who are not able to visit a healthcare provider or vaccination center. King County Public Health believes that these teams will be particularly helpful in vaccinating members of long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, senior centers, and other areas housing vulnerable populations.
“Right now, our priority is getting [the] vaccine to people quickly so that we can stay on track and hit our goals of moving into Phase B1 by the middle of January,” said Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts, one of the leaders of the state’s vaccine effort, in a press release earlier this week.
“We need the continued partnership of our local health and healthcare providers to plan and host clinics to get more vaccine[s] into arms.”
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) expects that it will take until around mid-to-late January to finish vaccinating high-risk health workers and those in long-term care facilities (Phase A1 and A2).
While Phase A1 is still the priority, the DOH is hoping that the release of Phase B1 guidance will help facilities, counties, and individuals plan for the months ahead. Once the state is ready to start Phase B1, they will let communities know how and where to get the vaccine.
Those in Phase B1 include all people 70 years or older and those 50 years or older in multigenerational households.