Valley health chief: Vaccine avoidance hasn’t troubled COVID-19 inoculation efforts

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Chelan-Douglas Health District Administrator Luke Davies.

WENATCHEE — In a survey in January, about 20 percent of adults in Washington said they would not seek vaccination for the coronavirus.

But more than half said they would accept the possible lifesaving shot, and Chelan-Douglas Health District administrator Luke Davies said yesterday that’s been borne out by heavy local demand for vaccination.

Early on, he said, there was some resistance to the newly-offered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — but not because of fear or distrust.

“We found that there were a number of healthcare providers who wanted to wait,” Davies said. “And part of the reason they wanted to wait was because they were young, healthy, and wanted to prioritize other people.”

As for that potential 20 percent block of people likely to refuse the shot, he said, “We’re in the process of making sure we have a communications strategic plan to be able to, when we have enough supply, pull in the people who are hesitant and make sure they have more opportunities to come get a vaccine.

“But right now across the state, local health jurisdictions are fighting really hard just to be able to keep up with the logistics of giving it to people who want it.”

Mass vaccinations have been underway for more than a month at the state-run Town Toyota Center drive-through site. State and federal health officials say it will take a vaccination rate of about 70 percent for the general population to gain herd immunity to the virus.