COVID vaccine drive thru

A drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic that opened last week in Monroe at The Evergreen State Fairgrounds. A similar site is planned to open near Stanwood in the coming days or weeks.

Snohomish County opened its third drive-thru COVID vaccine clinic last week, one of six officials plan to eventually open, including at a site near Stanwood.

The undetermined site near Stanwood will be modeled after the drive-thru clinic that opened in Monroe at The Evergreen State Fairgrounds, North County Fire and EMS chief John Cermak said. These sites are coordinated by the Snohomish County Vaccine Taskforce, which brings together public health, emergency management, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, human services, transit, public works and other partners within Snohomish County.

“We can deploy (the Stanwood area location) within three days when given the green light,” Cermak said. “My guess is that within a week of that, we can be up and running. But right now, we’re more concerned about when we will get the vaccine.”

The three drive-thru sites in Monroe, Everett and Edmonds are giving vaccinations to those in the Phase 1A group, such as health care workers, some first responders and residents and staff at long-term care homes. The drive-thru is only by appointments, which are made at snohd.org/covidvaccine.

“Our goal is to ensure that we vaccinate the residents of Snohomish County as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible,” Snohomish County Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann said. “We have been saying since the start that the first line of defense is our healthcare system. We are here to help augment them, so together we can meet our goal.”

Capacity will vary depending on vaccine supply and other resources, but up to 940 vaccinations can be administered per day between the three sites at this time.

These drive-thru sites are meant to supplement the existing healthcare system, which continues to provide most vaccinations, health officials said. However, if needed, the drive-thru locations can scale up to allow more traffic.

In Island County, Camano Island Fire and Rescue is currently seeking state authorization to be allowed to administer the vaccine, chief Levon Yengoyan said.

“We’re trying to be ready to go when we’re needed,” he said, adding that details are still being worked out with county and state officials.

Yengoyan said the tentative plan is for a drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Camano Center, relying on a mix of clinicians, EMTs and volunteers to operate the site.

State Department of Health announced the state is moving into Phase 1B, tier 1, as of Monday.

Phase 1B, tier 1, includes people 65 and older, as well as anyone 50 and older who lives in a multigenerational home. The state recommends those eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1B first contact their primary care doctor to try to schedule an appointment.

“We have to do it well, and we have to do it right,” state Secretary of Health Umair Shah said. “It’s all about striking a balance between speed and proper process as we distribute vaccines. We’re going as fast as we can, but we need to do better, and we will. To our community we want to say: We’re on it. Finding the right balance is the key to success for the future, and that’s our goal.”

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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