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Clark County’s mass COVID-19 vaccination site opens Tuesday

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
3 Photos
Tawnia Linde, marketing director for Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, left, talks with fairgrounds public relations manager Jim Beriault on Monday afternoon, January 25, 2021, while standing outside the building that will be used for drive-through COVID-19 vaccinations starting Tuesday. The vaccinations are by appointment only.
Tawnia Linde, marketing director for Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, left, talks with fairgrounds public relations manager Jim Beriault on Monday afternoon, January 25, 2021, while standing outside the building that will be used for drive-through COVID-19 vaccinations starting Tuesday. The vaccinations are by appointment only. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Clark County’s mass COVID-19 vaccination site opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, but all available appointments at the site this week were taken by early Monday morning.

The site, at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

The Washington State Department of Health said in an email Monday afternoon that it is working to create more vaccination appointment opportunities, but it did not yet have any more information to share. It is unclear when a new registration window will open.

Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine far exceeds the supply of vaccine, which is one of the reasons Clark County has not yet opened its first public vaccination site.

The fairgrounds location is expected to soon administer as many as 500 doses per day, but it will be less for now, as the site ramps up, according to a Department of Health news release.

It is expected that the sites will have an even higher capacity as more vaccine doses become available.

“As our vaccine allocations increase, these sites will provide additional capacity to get people vaccinated quickly and efficiently across the state,” said Washington Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah. “With much less supply of vaccine than people currently eligible, it is going to take time, which will require patience from all of us. I want to thank our partners who are working together to help us build the infrastructure needed to reach our (statewide) goal of 45,000 vaccinations a day.”

Advance registration is required for vaccinations, but appointments are also likely to quickly fill up for the first weeks of the fairgrounds site. Those without appointments will be turned away. All sites will have language access lines available, and some sites may have bilingual staff, according to the news release.

To be eligible for vaccination at the site, you must fall into either Phase 1A or 1B-1, according to the news release. Those in Phase 1A are health care workers or in emergency medical services. People who fall into 1B-1 are anyone 65 and older or people 50 and older who live in multigenerational housing.

For those 50 and older to be eligible for vaccination, you also must not be able to live independently and are receiving long-term care from a paid or unpaid caregiver; living with someone who works outside the home; or living with and caring for a grandchild.

The site near Ridgefield is one of four mass vaccination sites in Washington that the Department of Health is opening this week. The state will run the sites with the help of the Washington National Guard and local and private-sector partners, according to a news release.

The other sites are in Kennewick, Spokane and Wenatchee. The Ridgefield site is administering doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which is about 95 percent effective after a second dose.

Clinics, pharmacies and health care providers will still be offering vaccine. If a health care provider or pharmacy reaches out with the opportunity to get vaccinated, Washingtonians should not wait to get vaccinated.

Clark County Public Health has received requests from more than 18,000 people eligible to receive the vaccine, according to a Sunday news release. You can ask your primary care provider about vaccination options, but don’t call local hospitals trying to schedule a vaccination appointment. Hospitals are not scheduling vaccinations by phone. 

As of Monday, more than 15,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Clark County, according to the Department of Health. Close to 400,000 doses have been administered statewide.

To Learn More

You can confirm if you are eligible for vaccination using the state’s Phase Finder: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/VaccineInformation/PhaseFinderTool. If eligible, make an appointment by going here or calling 800-525-0127, then pressing #. You can also call 888-856-5816. Phone lines were busy Monday, and wait times were extremely long. You can attempt to book an appointment at https://mhealthcheckin.com/covidvaccine?clientId=1611346877286&region=Portland_-_3&urlId=%2Fvcl%2FClarkCounty. As of Monday evening, no future appointments were available.

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