Washingtonians 16 and older eligible for vaccine; pop-up clinics aim to draw down fourth wave

All Washington state residents 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and appointments are available at a variety of clinics across the North Olympic Peninsula.

Shots are available at various local pharmacies, county pop-up clinics and other health clinics.

As of last Monday, 46.57 percent of Clallam County residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 37.95 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

In Jefferson County, as of last Monday 56.65 percent of residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 42.87 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Vaccinations for COVID-19 are free to the recipient, and a second dose appointment is made when the person receives their first shot.

Pfizer’s is the only vaccine approved right now for people 16 and older.

The Moderna and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 and older, but Johnson & Johnson has been on a temporary pause while investigators examined a potential link between very rare incidents of blood clots. An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that the pause be lifted on Friday.

Many local pharmacies across the Peninsula are scheduling individual appointments.

The state has created a vaccination locator at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.

Some of the larger grocery store chains such as Walmart, Safeway and QFC receive regular shipments of COVID-19 vaccines.

Appointments can be made on their websites when available: Walmart, walmart.com/covidvaccine; Safeway, safeway.com/vaccinations/home; QFC, qfc.com/rx/covid-eligibility.

Clallam County Emergency Management has partnered with the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce to put on three pop-up clinics in downtown Port Angeles at the site of the former ice skating rink, 121 W. Front St.

The clinics will provide Moderna vaccine for people 18 and older and are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, Friday and next Sunday, May 2.

Pop-up clinics do not require appointments and are walk-up first-come first-served.

The county also is working with the Barhop, 124 W. Railroad Ave. in Port Angeles, for two “a Shot and a Beer” pop-up clinics using Moderna vaccine. The clinics will be open to those 18 and older, but only those 21 and older who receive the shots will also be able to each get a free beer.

The clinics are scheduled from 5-8 p.m. on May 8 and from 1-4 p.m. on May 10.

Appointments for Jefferson Healthcare’s clinics can be made at jeffersonhealthcare.org/covid-19-vaccine and the next first-dose clinic is scheduled for Friday using the Moderna vaccine, said Amy Yaley, hospital spokesperson.

Forks Community Hospital has a Moderna vaccination clinic scheduled for Friday. More information can be found at ForksHospital.org.

The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management and Jefferson County Public Health will open a Moderna vaccination clinic in Brinnon at the high school gym, 46 Schoolhouse Road from 9 a.m.-noon this coming Saturday.

There are 100 doses available for this clinic. To schedule an appointment, go to bit.ly/brinnonvax. Individuals who do not have access to a computer can call 360-344-9791 to make an appointment.

Pop-up clinics aim to draw down fourth wave

As the fourth wave of the pandemic hovers, there is still a chance to draw it down, the two county health officials said on April 24.

“The most important thing I can say is now is the time to get vaccinated. The vaccines are available. And it is urgent that people get vaccinated now,” before COVID-19’s next surge can overtake the region, said Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke.

With the fourth wave potentially peaking a month from now, “those who don’t get vaccinated are going to be at increasing risk of infection,” he added.

Locke acknowledged that many people are undecided about whether to be inoculated — but “it’s a dangerous decision to not get vaccinated right now.”

The effects of COVID-19, for all too many survivors, “are way worse than influenza in terms of its long-term consequences.” In other words, the coronavirus leaves some people, of various ages, with health problems that linger far longer than those of the flu.

At the same time, vaccine supply is strong in both Clallam and Jefferson counties. People age 16 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer shots; those 18 and older can get the Moderna vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine has been reauthorized and will shortly be available at pop-up vaccination sites and doctors’ clinics, said Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry.

Administration of the Johnson & Johnson shot was paused earlier this month after rare cases of blood clots appeared in women who had received it. These cases were in young women, Berry noted, “so women under 50 should consider alternatives,” as in Moderna or Pfizer. Pregnant women also should seek shots other than Johnson & Johnson, she said.

Over the past week, Clallam County has seen 25 people test positive for COVID-19, bringing the number to 131 so far in April. Saturday morning, Berry reported four more people infected with the coronavirus in the county; this brings the total over the past year to 1,196.

In Jefferson County, Locke on Saturday morning reported three more people testing positive. They bring the April number to 35 cases and the total over the past year to 380 cases.

Locke and Berry both want to adjust their immunization strategies. Demand is dropping off for the mass vaccination sites at Chimacum High School and Port Angeles High School, and the health officers hope to use pop-up clinics — at pubs, churches, restaurants, doctors’ offices — to make it easier for workers, parents and other busy people to get their shots.

“We’re open to anything,” in terms of location, Locke said.

“People would like us to bring the vaccine to them, and we want to do that. We want people to tell us what their barriers are,” he added.

“We still think there are a lot of folks — restaurant workers, people in the maritime industry — who haven’t quite made the plunge,” but who can make a difference in the community’s protection from COVID-19.

Locke said he likes the Clallam pop-up sites such as the “beer and a shot” clinic at Barhop in Port Angeles.

When it comes to immunizing people, “we want to harness that creativity of the community.”