PeaceHealth United General Medical Center

PeaceHealth United General Medical Center in Sedro-Woolley.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — PeaceHealth United General Medical Center and its associated clinics have vaccinated about 60% of its employees against COVID-19, a PeaceHealth official said Friday — as well as more than 400 patients and other health care workers in the area.

Dr. Jim Bochsler, vice president and medical director for PeaceHealth Medical Group’s Northwest Network, said the latest tally shows 235 employees have received at least one dose of the Moderna vaccine, and of those about 8% had received their second dose.

He said the group hopes to reach at least the 80% benchmark.

“We just have a little bit further but I’m confident we’ll get there,” Boschler said.

PeaceHealth has also been vaccinating eligible patients.

Bochsler emphasized the medical group is only reaching out to patients eligible to receive the vaccine, and only when doses are available. Because of limited vaccine availability, PeaceHealth is not scheduling vaccination appointments for patients it has not contacted.

“We do not have a definite schedule for when we’ll get vaccines from the state. ... Because of that we’re not in a position to receive phone calls and make waiting lists,” he said.

About 4,000 PeaceHealth patients in Skagit County are now eligible for the vaccine.

So far, PeaceHealth has vaccinated 424 non-employees in clinics held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Most of those vaccinated are patients, Bochsler said, although that number may include health care workers outside the PeaceHealth system.

Bochsler said PeaceHealth United General Medical Center has given out “the vast majority” of the doses it has received.

He said any expansion of distribution would depend on how much vaccine is available.

“We’ll be at this for months to come. It’s been complex,” Bochsler said.

One facet of the process PeaceHealth and patients must keep track of, he said, is the second dose, which is received several weeks after the first.

“So far, that system has been working. (The second dose) is sent to where people got the first dose. People need to make sure they can get back there for the second dose,” Bochsler said.

Although other COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, there are currently two approved in the United States. PeaceHealth has been using the vaccine developed by Moderna, which has less-stringent storage requirements than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @goskagit, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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