Photo courtesy of Bayview: Bayview Assisted Living Manager Pamela Yeo receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse provided by CVS, Jan. 4. Currently, healthcare workers and most residents of senior living facilities are eligible to receive the inoculations under state guidelines.
Photo courtesy of Bayview: Bayview Assisted Living Manager Pamela Yeo receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse provided by CVS, Jan. 4. Currently, healthcare workers and most residents of senior living facilities are eligible to receive the inoculations under state guidelines.
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As select members of the public begin to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Seattle and King County, more efforts are underway to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Thus far, vaccine rollout for high-risk health care personnel and staff and most residents in long-term care facilities, designated as phase “1A” by state officials, began Dec. 17. 

In Queen Anne, Aegis Living on Galer started its inoculation rollout Saturday. Earlier in the week, some members of Bayview staff and residents received their first in a two-shot vaccination series.

In an email Friday, Bayview Assisted Living Manager Pamela Yeo said Friday she hadn’t experienced any “negative reactions, signs or symptoms” related to the vaccine.

“I was thrilled to be a part of this opportunity in history when I received my vaccine here at Bayview,” Yeo said. “During this pandemic, we have all been doing our best to provide hope to our community. This is one more step forward in that process.”

Bayview Health Center activities staff member Sarah Kapahua said she was also glad she participated.

“I am just grateful that I could be part of a historic moment: science and progress at their best,” she said.

In less than three weeks, nursing staff will return to Bayview to provide boosters to the residents and staff who have already received the vaccinations and administer shots to remaining staff and residents permitted to be vaccinated in the current rollout phase.

Earlier this week, King County officials, including Executive Dow Constantine, announced that $7 million will be used to create high-volume community vaccination sites and mobile teams so that as many residents as possible will be quickly, efficiently, and equitably vaccinated. According to the press release, the sites will serve people at highest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 first and eventually be open to all members of the public as more vaccine supplies become available.  

The press release states, for COVID-19 to be contained and for the region to reopen, Public Health — Seattle & King County estimates that at least 70 percent of all adults, or approximately 1.26 million people, will need to be vaccinated.

Part of King County’s vaccine rollout strategy is to ensure people have equitable access to vaccines as quickly as possible. The county vaccine sites will be  important for people who are not connected to the health care system, who work multiple jobs or face barriers accessing health care.

“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,” Constantine said in the press release. “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.”

According to the press release, County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles will be working with Constantine as the council’s Budget Committee chair to secure federal funding for reimbursement “I applaud Executive Constantine for committing to this significant and crucial investment in building King County’s vaccination infrastructure and subsequent ability to combat COVID-19,” Kohl-Welles said in the press release.  “Unfortunately, we are filling a gap that has resulted from the failure of the current federal Administration to fulfill its responsibility. The reality is we cannot wait. Investing now will make it possible for us to significantly and equitably expand vaccination capacity and accessibility as the doses become available.”

According to the press release, the first two vaccine sites will likely open in south King County, which has been hit hard COVID-19.

In addition, five mobile strike teams will form to reach people unable to visit a healthcare provider or vaccination center.

According to the press release, these teams will be helpful in vaccinating members of long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, senior centers and other areas housing vulnerable populations.

Also last week, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau asked Gov. Jay Inslee and state and county leaders to give vaccinations to educators and school district personnel higher priority.

“Prioritizing vaccinations for public educators and critical support staff will send a strong message of the state’s commitment to public education and care for our public educators in a time when so much is uncertain,” Juneau wrote in her letter. “This action will help build trust in our collective commitment to recovery.”

Currently, the state is in Phase 1A of its vaccination plan, focusing on high-risk workers in health care systems, high-risk first responders and long-term care facility residents.

K-12 educators and staff are slated to become eligible to receive vaccines in Phase 1B, in either Tier 2 or 4, depending on whether they are older or younger than 50.  Juneau stated, it doesn’t make sense to have an age limit for education professionals and requested all SPS personnel involved with in-person learning this March be included in the second broad vaccine distribution.

“Our top priority must be to keep our staff, students and communities physically safe, as well as mentally and academically healthy,” Juneau said in her letter.

To see the vaccination priority guideline, go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/SummaryInterimVaccineAllocationPriortization.pdf.