For the third consecutive week, Skagit County’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic will receive no new first doses of the vaccine, as federal deliveries continue to fall short of demand throughout the state.
Other vaccine clinics in the county may still receive an allotment next week. Skagit Regional Health, which operates vaccine clinics in Mount Vernon and Smokey Point, will have more information Friday, according to a spokesperson.
Those who have received their first dose of the vaccine at the Skagit County Fairgrounds clinic will be able to get their second dose, as the state focuses on getting these individuals fully immunized.
“I think that’s the bigger issue right now,” said County Commissioner Lisa Janicki.
Those who have gotten their first shot have a limited amount of time to get their second, and they need to be prioritized, according to a news release from the state Department of Health.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health declined to comment specifically on allocations sent to Skagit County’s vaccine clinic.
Statewide, there are not enough vaccine doses available to meet demand, said spokesperson Shelby Anderson.
Janicki said lack of access to the vaccine is frustrating, but it’s not a problem unique to Skagit County.
“I’m hearing that across the state,” she said. “Everyone is waiting for those first doses.”
She urged patience as production and delivery of the vaccine is expected to ramp up.
“More doses will make this whole thing easier,” she said.
Commissioner Peter Browning said he keeps being told vaccine manufacturers are on the cusp of being able to increase production.
“We’ve been told that two weeks in a row and it doesn’t happen,” he said.
He said it’s been difficult to explain to the public why the county has remained without doses, and it creates the perception that the county Public Health department is failing — something he said couldn’t be further from the truth.
“People think it’s incompetence on the part of the county and that’s not the case at all,” Browning said.
Janicki said by setting up a vaccine site capable of administering as many as 3,000 doses per week the county has demonstrated it has the ability to administer vaccines once more are available.
COVID-19 testing, which is also offered at the fairgrounds, was closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday, due to below-freezing temperatures.
In a news release, the county announced testing will end permanently on March 13 as Public Health continues to shift its efforts toward vaccination.