The mass vaccination site  has administered thousands of vaccines since opening on Jan. 29

Snohomish County opened a mass vaccination site at the Arlington Municipal Airport on Jan. 29. It is the county's fourth mass vaccination site.

The county hopes to open a total of seven sites, and has their fifth site ready at The Tulalip Tribes' Boom City but has not been able to open it yet, as of Feb. 5.

“We want access for as many people as possible,” said Kari Bray, the public information officer for the county vaccination sites.

Before the Arlington and Tulalip locations, the first three sites were put up at Edmonds, Everett and Mukilteo.

“After that we wanted to make sure we had a north county location,” said Bray.

The two most recent locations will help serve some of the areas near Arlington and Tulalip.

“I was very happy we now have a vaccine site in the north county area to serve the people of Arlington,” said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert. “It’s a wonderful set-up. Very easy to get in to and out of."

Staff at the airport and paramedics with the city have helped to coordinate the set-up of the Arlington location.

“The Department of Emergency Management did a great job making this easy for us to coordinate with them,” said Tolbert.

For the Arlington site’s first few days, through Feb. 1, they had administered 2,900 vaccines, and the site has done more since then, said Bray.

Appointments are very limited and are currently hard to get because of the limited vaccine supply and large number of people eligible for vaccination.

Tolbert said she has heard people are having trouble setting appointments.

“We’re hopeful that people will express patience and continuing being diligent about setting up appointments,” she said.

Bray said the county does understand the frustrations about the limited number of appointments available.

“Our biggest barrier right now has been the vaccine supply,” she said. “I know people are really struggling for their appointments."

About 200,000 people are currently eligible for the vaccine in the county, however the county has not received enough vaccines for all of those individuals.

As of Jan. 31 the county had received about 61,000 first doses and 29,000 second doses.

The county’s ability to set appointments is contingent on more vaccines coming in, and has not kept all of their sites open every day because of the lack of doses.

During the week of Feb. 1 there were days with only one of the county’s five sites was open.

“I know people would like a set timeframe, but it really depends on the supply we’re receiving,” said Bray.

The registration system does not allow for appointments unless the county has the dose on hand.

“We really don’t want to cancel an already set-up appointment,” said Bray.

The current system only allows for registrants to sign up for their first dose appointment, not both. The second appointment needs to be set up separately.

The county is working on a system to do the sign-up for both appointments simultaneously, but Bray said she didn’t know when that would be ready.

Those signing up for a second dose appointment are not competing for space against those signing up for a first dose appointment, she said.

The second dose needs to be a minimum of 21 or 28 days after the first dose, however receiving it after is not a problem.

“It may not be at the target date, but that is okay,” said Bray.

Those who receive only the first dose still gain some resistance to COVID-19 and the efficacy of the second dose is not reduced if it is delayed.

Those with more than one person eligible in their household still need to make an appointment for each individual.

“So if you have a household where the husband and wife are both eligible, you can’t schedule just one appointment,” said Bray, because all doses of the vaccine have to be tracked and assigned properly.

Families can still come in together, they just need to sign up for individual appointments.

Those coming in for appointments should have ID, medical insurance information and a printout of your appointment confirmation.

Insurance is not necessary to receive the vaccine.

“If you don’t have insurance, you won’t be charged. We don’t want cost to become a barrier to anyone,” said Bray.

Tolbert wanted to thank everyone who is helping to put up the local vaccination site outdoors at the airport.

“I have the highest compliments to the volunteers and staff out there who are working through all kinds of weather,” she said.

 

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