Medical leaders for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, who is distributing Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for Sequim residents through a drive-through in Carrie Blake Community Park, provided an updated schedule for available vaccines and an online registration system on Wednesday.
They report that the online registration system, found at www.jamestownhealth.org, will be ready the week of Feb. 2 with openings announced a few days prior.
Vaccinations will continue on a first come, first served basis for residents 70-and-up and their spouse/partner from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 23. Each day, 600 doses will be offered at Carrie Blake Community Park, 201 N. Blake Ave.
On the week of Jan. 26-30, vaccinations will stop as nurses are vaccinated with their second doses and so inventory can build up.
Vaccinations will reopen with the online registration system in place for residents 65-and-up and their spouse/partners up to 600 doses each day on Tuesday, Feb. 2, Thursday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 6.
Updates continue at the tribe’s website.
Rather than waiting in a vehicle for several hours and overnight, Sequim’s oldest residents may be able to sign up online instead for COVID-19 vaccinations — as early as this coming weekend.
At three Sequim vaccination clinics held since Jan. 14, locals camped in their vehicles through the night and/or arrived early in the morning in hopes of receiving the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccination from Jamestown Family Health Clinic staff at Carrie Blake Community Park.
“The surge (of interest) is not going to go away,” said Brent Simcosky, director of Health Services for the tribe.
“Eighty-year-olds sleeping in their cars and running their engines is a safety risk and having them line up along the road is a traffic hazard.”
Arla and Rawleigh Ellsworth, 72 and 73 of Sequim, attempted to go the first morning of vaccinations but were sent home while only three cars away from a vaccination. The couple didn’t take any chances and lined up early on Friday night (Jan. 15) for the next morning’s vaccines.
“We wanted to guarantee to get a shot,” Arla said. “I will gladly take it. I don’t think we’d get it otherwise.”
Earlier in the week, Rawleigh just had a cancerous tumor removed from his left hand and feels they’ve got no other option for a vaccine at this point.
Simcosky said they’ve seen and heard comments about the process so far and hope to have an online sign-up system up and running, similar to Clallam County’s for registration by Saturday’s vaccination date (Jan. 23), or the following Tuesday, Jan. 26. Organizers plan to set up a phone line for those without the internet, too.
Until the system is up, vaccination times remain 9 a.m.-2 p.m. for up to 600 vaccinations Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the park, 202 N. Blake Ave.
Those interested for update, can check jamestownhealth.org or call 360-683-5900.
Process and age changes
Simcosky said they’ve wanted to have an online system available for Sequim, but it wasn’t ready by the time they started community vaccinations (Jan. 14) for those 70-and-up.
He said systems across the state experienced crashes because of the high web traffic.
Those who sign up will receive an hour time slot, i.e. 9 a.m.-10 a.m., and be asked to arrive about 30 minutes early. System hiccups may occur, and he encourages people to refresh their computer browsers similar to purchasing tickets online.
More changes include Gov. Jay Inslee shifting the B1 phase for vaccinations on Monday from 70-and-older to 65-and-older.
Simcosky said they plan to shift to 65-and-up when the online/phone registration goes live.
He said that clinic nurses, Clallam County Fire District 3, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members and other community volunteers has made the process a “well-oiled machine” with up to 150 people being vaccinated an hour.
“Any way we do this, it’s not going to please everybody,” Simcosky said. “The demand is higher than the supply and this age group is eager to get vaccinated.”
Vaccines come to the Sequim clinic once a week, Simcosky said.
More should come this week, he said, but for residents looking to receive the first dose they have enough through Tuesday, Jan. 26, as of press time on Jan. 19.
“I’m not told until Sunday nights if it was approved and shipped,” Simcosky said.
So far, more than 4,000 vaccinations have been distributed in Sequim by the clinic with second doses of the vaccine beginning distribution this week for clinic staff and first responders.
A continued focus on the first month of vaccines is where Simcosky said he’s set his attention rather than recent news of uncertainty about future reserve vaccines.
“What we’re trying to do is get through the first four weeks,” he said.
“We feel we have enough (for the first and second dosages) for the first month. (The process is) looking good. We just need more supply.”
Simcosky said most residents seeking vaccinations are from Sequim and Clallam County with organizers turning away some people from Kitsap County.
They also began telling drivers if they’d reached 600 vaccinations for the day so they wouldn’t have to wait.
“We’re going to keep (vaccinating) as long as we can,” he said. “We’re going to get burned out after four months of this, so we’re hoping pharmacies and other methods are established.
“We wanted to show a rural county could pull together and give some people hope.”