Jennifer Flax sprung out of the chair wearing a giant smile.
“I feel so relieved,” she exclaimed moments after receiving the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Friday at Stanwood Community & Senior Center.
Flax, 68, was one of 75 residents to get the first dose of the vaccine from Anesis Spine and Pain Care in Renton, who had extra doses and was connected with the Stanwood facility via the Snohomish Health District.
“I’m so excited,” Flax said. “I have three grandsons in town who I haven’t seen. I just want to hug them, and this gets me a step closer. When I heard about the vaccine clinic, I couldn’t get down here fast enough.”
After a former resident who had moved out at the onset of the pandemic tested positive, the Stanwood Community & Senior Center went on lockdown with residents mostly staying in their rooms and getting items delivered. There have been no COVID cases at the facility since.
The vaccine clinic Friday became one of the few social events in the past 10 months, allowing masked residents to visit briefly from a safe distance.
“If I hadn’t had my dog, I’d probably have gone nuts,” said resident Ken Jobe, 93. “I like to depend on myself. This (isolation) has been one of the hardest things.”
Jobe said the vaccine is a step toward normalcy.
“I wanted the shot because I need to keep myself going. I plan on making it to 100,” he said, adding that when able, he plans to visit his daughter and “go downtown and have a good big breakfast.”
A mix of excitement and relief flowed through the building, said Julie Vess, executive director of the Stanwood Community & Senior Center.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Vess said. “We’re starting to look toward the future. There’s some hope.”
However, vaccine supplies are still just trickling into Washington. Snohomish County received just over 3,000 doses last week, yet there are 200,000 people eligible under Phase 1A and 1B1. To date, more than 25,000 in Snohomish County have received the first dose. At this rate, local health officials said they expect it to take up to three months to work through Phase 1B1.
“We sadly don’t yet have 150,000 vaccines to give out today,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District, said last week. “While we currently have the capacity to give at least 30,000 doses per week, vaccine supplies are extremely limited and nowhere near where we need them to be to achieve that speed.”
Snohomish County announced Tuesday, Jan. 26, they expect 17,000 doses to arrive from the state this week.
Because of low supply, Snohomish County stopped scheduling appointments for its three drive-thru mass vaccination clinics late last week.
“I am frustrated," Snohomish County executive Dave Somers said, "and find it frustrating that we're having to fight for extra doses each week.”
Two organizations on Camano Island received approval to administer COVID vaccines last week.
Camano Island Fire & Rescue and Camano Island Health System were approved by the state to give eligible people the vaccine. However, like elsewhere in the state, getting the vaccine is the current hurdle.
CIFR is partnering with the Camano Center and Island County to operate a vaccination clinic at the Camano Center, and they expect to open the site as early as next week.
While CIFR is awaiting approval on their vaccination plan from Island County, officials tested the tentative plan and trained volunteers Monday by administering 50 doses.
“Once we get the vaccine, we need to have enough clinical and nonclinical volunteers to facilitate day-to-day operations, and enough training to make sure the whole process runs smoothly,” CIFR spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Camano site can email Pat Waters, the Island County Emergency Management volunteer coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the site is operational, the plan is for residents to make appointments online at camanofire.com or over the phone.
“The message right now is to please have patience,” CIFR Chief Levon Yengoyan said. “We have already been inundated with so many phone calls.”
Meanwhile, the other Camano vaccination provider has also been swamped in requests. Camano Island Health System officials said there is not enough vaccine supplies, and they are making a list of eligible residents who contact them, according to a notice on their website, camanoislandhealth.com.
To determine eligibility and find vaccine clinics, visit FindYourPhaseWA.org or call 800-525-0127.
Yes - the rumors are true. We’re working w/ community partners to set up another #COVID vaccine clinic on the island.— Camano Island Fire & Rescue (@CamanoFire) January 23, 2021
It’ll be at the Camano Center, and we hope to have it open by early to mid-Feb. Stay tuned for more info. pic.twitter.com/zWRCrwoxO1