County COVID-19 briefing: Vaccine supply, website glitch means a wait for shots

If we had more vaccine, we could vaccinate many more people in Snohomish County. That’s the big takeaway from the county’s weekly COVID update Tuesday. The three drive-through locations (Monroe, Everett, Edmonds College) have the capacity to give shots to 30,000 people a week, according to County Executive Dave Somers.

Somers said the county is running “far below capacity” and he is frustrated that officials cannot get the supply. He said he knows that the state is not getting vaccine supplies either and he does not know when more is coming. Somers told reporters that the county could easily ramp up to 50,000 doses or more a week if more vaccine arrives.  He added that 65% of the initial vaccine allotment of 35,000 doses has already been used.

Dr. Chris Spitters, Snohomish Health District

“This was,” said County Health Officer Chris Spitters, “the year that turned everybody’s lives upside down.” Jan. 19 marks a tragic anniversary here. Exactly, one year ago, a man from Everett went to a walk-in clinic just days after he returned from Wuhan, China.  Doctors had heard of the coronavirus and took blood samples. Within 24 hours, the federal Centers for Disease Control alerted them that their patient was the first documented COVID-19 case in the nation

Spitters called what has been accomplished in the last year a miracle. Now, the key is to get the vaccine “to as many as quickly possible,” said Somers. Not enough vaccine is the big glitch that the county is working through, coordinating with the state.

Another glitch was the website for the Seattle Visiting Nurses Association: www.seattlevna.com, which administers shots at two of the county’s drive-through sites. Monday, the state opened vaccine appointments to those 65 and older, but the website wouldn’t accept reservations. The software has been updated. But their injection sites are fully booked for the rest of this week.

The county thinks there are about 120,000 resident 65 and older who are now eligible for their shots. Another 20,000-40,000 also eligible are those who are over 50 and live in “multi-generational” homes.

One way to find out when you can get the shot is the state’s website —https://form.findyourphasewa.org.org.

Once you register online, the site should notify you when you are eligible and provide vaccine sites.

Snohomish County is setting up a phone line for those without internet access. As soon as the county call center is running, the health district will provide the number. In the meantime, you can call the state COVID line: 1-800-525-0127, then press #. Interpreter services are available.

Health care services and some pharmacies may also provide the vaccine. Currently, 54 providers are  approved to give COVID shots; another 46 are pending state approval. But the county says private providers are limited by the space they have, and that mass vaccine centers may still be your best bet.

The state originally said that all vaccine should be administered by next Sunday. Some providers had been keeping some of their supply so that patients could get a second shot. The county is trying to confirm if the state will allow that, or if all available shots will be given this week.

Spitters told reporters that updated numbers should be released later on Tuesday on the rolling average of new cases over a two-week period.  He thinks “we’re looking at level case numbers at best.”

He added that hospitalizations are holding steady at about 110-120. Of those, 90 are confirmed COVID cases; 30 are suspected.

As frustrating as the wait is, both officials said we’ve got to be patient.

— By Bob Throndsen

18 Replies to “County COVID-19 briefing: Vaccine supply, website glitch means a wait for shots”

  1. Today I found the website working fine. I answered the questionnaire and confirmed I’m eligible for my vaccine. Unfortunately I found NO open appointment times available in Edmonds, Everett, Bothell or Mill Creek. It make the process very frustrating. Apparently I have to go back to the website daily to see if more times have been made available and I can beat the rush. There are no instructions how to proceed. The Edmonds Community College vaccine site didn’t show up on the state website. I had to do a separate search to find their sign-up page.

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    1. From our COVID report story also posted yesterday: Use the state’s phase finder tool at findyourphasewa.org to determine your eligibility. Once you become eligible, appointments at the various clinics can be set up at the appointment booking website.

      But there are still wrinkles to be ironed out. As of Tuesday, all available vaccination appointments at the state sites for this week have been filled, and there is no firm word on when additional slots will open up.

      “At this time the appointments are booked,” said the Snohomish Health District’s Kari Bray in an email to the My Neighborhood News Network. “More will be added as vaccine doses are available, and people can check back at those same webpages for new appointments.”

      Bray added that she has no certain date when more appointments will be available, and that in the meantime she encourages people to “contact their regular healthcare provider, clinic or pharmacy to see if they are offering COVID vaccinations.”

      Also note, as another commenter mentioned here, that the https://form.findyourphasewa.org/210118771253954 site works better on a computer than a mobile device.

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    2. I signed up today for the two covid-19 vaccines, one for Friday Feb 5 at 11:30 am and the other for March 5 at 12:15 pm which were confirmed when I signed up but I didn’t get an email
      confirmation. Is an email confirmation sent out?

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  2. From the article:
    (1) “The three drive-through locations (Monroe, Everett, Edmonds College) have the capacity to give shots to 30,000 people a week”
    (2)”He added that 65% of the initial vaccine allotment of 35,000 doses has already been used.” (which is 22,750)

    I don’t understand how these two statements from Mr. Somers support his claim that there isn’t enough supply – they haven’t used the 35,000 received since December, let alone giving 30,000 per week. Can anyone out there explain?

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    1. My questions exactly. I keep hearing that it is the Federal government that is failing, but a little closer to home, the numbers are dismal, and apparently convincing front line workers to get the vaccine has not had much success. I am not one for blaming, and maybe there is a kink in the distribution, but me thinks there is some selective finger wagging going on here. I posted the latest numbers yesterday, and to get to 50,000 per day, it is going to take quite a bit of ramp up.

      Maybe letters and emails to Strom Peterson (our State Rep) can get some clarity on the plan, and what he is doing to get our region the vaccines we need. I am sure his hands are tied, and that he probably will blame the Federal Government (who does own some of the blame) but there is a shared responsibility here.

      Or, we will get silence. I am getting more used to the birds chirping than answers. I will say that the numerous emails I sent on the opening of gyms got responses, and it worked for the multitude of people. One note on that, although the time allowed is short (45 minutes in a one-hour window) it is a huge relief to be able to go and workout. The space is extremely limited, and so far, my Washington exposure alerts have not triggered. I also feel like I am getting a huge boost in lung capacity – wearing a mask while working out is tough! (Strom, if you had anything to do with getting gyms open, which I suspect you did, I appreciate it)!

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      1. It’s important to note that even if you have received both covid injections you are still instructed to wear a mask when in public. It is unknown whether a vaccinated person can still be a carrier of the virus but be asymptomatic.

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    2. We are giving out all the vaccine we have. I do not know where you are getting the idea that we have not used the 35,000 we have received since December. Simply not true. Some large private health care organizations are not set up for mass vaccinations, but we are and we are constrained by supply.

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      1. Here are the latest numbers of vaccines delivered, vaccines given. This separates them into one shot or two shots. Available by State here: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

        805,000 shots delivered
        346,765 of those have been given
        286,500 First Dose
        49,731 Second Dose

        Based on the latest numbers, there is a slight upward trend in vaccinations, and we have crossed the 4,000/100,000 shots administered – good progress, but not enough.

        Washington has used less than 50% of the vaccine that it has on hand (from what I understand it isn’t counted until the State has it, but it is the Government, and they are pointing fingers at one another, so it could be a combination of both). So we are in week 4 or 5, and that would mean roughly 80 to 85k have received first shots, and 49k have been fully vaccinated (I would think this will ramp up quickly as they hit the three week period or lag).

        The Governor wants 40K per day, we are doing 15k per day, and we are allotted 100K shots per week from the feds. So right now, the State is behind USING their vaccines, the allotment appears to be coming in on time (one would expect that as we get it, the demand for it would outweigh the supply) to get more, to meet the Gov’s goals, we need 180k more vaccines – but right now, even with diminished demand – Washington State cannot seem to get the shots delivered.

        Either way, the sooner they figure this crap out, the better off we will all be. In both cases (Feds and State) it is the pot calling the kettle black, I just hope they both figure out how to get it done, and get us vaccinated before 2022.

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      2. Mr. Sommers – if you are reading the same article as I am, you said, “65% of the initial vaccine allotment of 35,000 doses has already been used.” Usually “all” means 100%. So I’m just looking for someone to explain that if we haven’t given 100% of the doses received, why do we (you) say, we cannot get the supply?

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        1. Jim – and others who are critical of the state of affairs – I understand that everyone wants to get vaccinated, but if you look how the entire COVID infection, biological and statistical study, research by biochemical firms and their ramp up to production of vaccine, then distribution that includes thousands of medical personnel, vaccine shipping and storage equipment, clinical supplies, website development and all of this happening within a year! This is quite a remarkable achievement for America, and for Western Civilization. Why, in this conversation, are we striving over such a small sack of potatoes representing that this person said this or that and according to the arithmetic, it doesn’t make sense?? Good gracious, look at what we have accomplished!! How about a humble display of gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of people striving to make it all work out? Just sayin’

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        2. Did anyone actually read what I asked? My question was not criticizing the state of affairs – someone else made it a criticism, not me. I only asked if someone (anyone) could explain how we can say that we are waiting on supply and at the same time say we have administered just 65% of the vaccines allocated.

          At this point, no one has answered that. I’m thinking I’m not going to get an answer, which is a little concerning.

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  3. This entire thing is way to complicated, especially for an 82 year old geezer like me. I know I should be eligible, so why does have to be difficult.

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  4. I’m just not getting this? Every site I am directed to, I go through the questions, it says “Let’s get you Vaccinated”, I get to the Time and Date and everything is greyed out and won’t let me choose, So I come back a few minutes later and then it says “Sorry all the slots have been filled for this week.” How is that possible when I couldn’t even pick a time or a date, yet in my 5 mins of waiting, others were able to?

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    1. All the sites i checked are out of vaccine. Until they get more they can’t take reservations. We just have to keep checking back and hope we can grab a spot before the next batch runs out.
      From what I’ve read the state is behind in distribution but they aren’t getting supplies from feds quickly either. Both are behind leaving us waiting.

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