We share your vaccine frustration!
Are you frustrated about vaccination opportunities? You are not alone! I waited for my age group to become eligible and discovered that scheduling at Jefferson …
We share your vaccine frustration!
Are you frustrated about vaccination opportunities? You are not alone! I waited for my age group to become eligible and discovered that scheduling at Jefferson Healthcare was closed due to lack of vaccine. How can this be? The simple answer is lack of vaccine to meet demand and needlessly poor communication from the government.
The situation is also frustrating for the staff at your Public Hospital District. We can vaccinate as many as 2,800 people a week but we get no advance notice of vaccine shipments and received no vaccine in the past two weeks. Yet as of Monday, we have administered 4,255 doses, the fourth highest rate per population in the state. We gave 400 shots per day this weekend, get six doses per five-dose vial, and have wasted only two shots! Less than 0.05 percent of the very fragile, difficult-to-transport Pfizer vaccine. We have administered 90 percent of the vaccine we received, better than most counties, and are ready for more. We hope to get 600 doses of Moderna this week, shared with three local pharmacies. Keep an eye on https://jef
fersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine/ and other local sites for getting your vaccine.
The good news is Jefferson Healthcare is working on a dynamic, interactive website at that will track vaccinations, supply levels, percent of community vaccinated, and more.
The site will allow appointments for eligible tiers when vaccine is available and a “get in line” feature for folks in later tiers to input contact information so we can notify you when you become eligible.
This should relieve some of the understandable anxiety of “I don’t want to be left behind.” We are truly committed to doing what we can to deal with this pandemic and we urge everyone to do the same.
Unfortunately, due to concerns about the raging pandemic and slow administration rates elsewhere, the governor mandated that we depart from our organized, oldest and frailest first approach and we cannot hold vaccines for second doses. Some of us may only have 50 percent protection for longer than hoped. The next few weeks will be even more frustrating with slow-moving sign-up lines, but we have good reason to expect major changes for the better during the next four to six weeks with more vaccine.
We are happy to report that 75 percent of hospital district staff have been vaccinated, an outstanding level of protection for our critical healthcare workers. This makes it even safer for people to get the health care they need and we urge the community to do so. Jefferson Healthcare staff has nearly achieved herd immunity. Next is the entire community!
Finally, we are thankful for the outstanding collaboration with Dr. Tom Locke and his Public Health staff. With local resident cooperation, they have helped reduce the new infection case rate in our community to one of the lowest in the state, currently 69 cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks. For the state it’s a whopping 462!
Please continue to follow the recommended masking and other safety precautions even after you receive your vaccine. You can still catch the virus and the new more contagious variant has made it to Washington state.
Please keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and please be patient. We share your frustration.
(Dr. Kees Kolff is a Public Hospital District Commissioner. This viewpoint was written with agreement from the rest of the Board of Commissioners; Jill Buhler-Rienstra, Marie Dressler, RN, Matt Ready and Bruce McComas, as well as Mike Glenn, CEO, Jefferson Healthcare.)
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