Wenatchee mass vaccination site could make huge dent in COVID-19 shots

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WENATCHEE — If Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines remain in steady supply, Wenatchee’s mass vaccination point at Town Toyota Center stands a chance of inoculating half of all Chelan and Douglas County residents currently eligible for their shots in the next six weeks.

That’s full vaccination, including both first and second doses of the Pfizer compound, which must be given 21 days apart, said Luke Davies, administrator of the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

“If the mass vaccination site is currently doing 4,000 to 5,000 a week, and you have to do second doses for that period, that means you have 15,000 people for each six-week period that are getting both first and second doses,” Davies said in a press conference Tuesday at the Wenatchee arena.

An estimated 30,000 people in the two counties currently fall into the first tier of Phase 1B of Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy: Either 65 or older, or 50 and older living in multigenerational housing, such as grandparents with children and grandchildren in the same home.

To vaccinate all those people through the Town Toyota site, Davies estimated 12 weeks with a stable supply chain of vaccine. The Pfizer doses distributed at the arena must be kept at supercold temperatures until administered, so Confluence Health is responsible for storing the solution ahead of time.

The Wenatchee site is set up for vaccine patients in the Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan county area. Davies said his estimate of 30,00 eligible does not factor in Grant and Okanogan’s demographics, which may include another 20,000 to 30,000 people.

“So we’re looking at potentially 24 weeks in order to get through this first (Phase) 1b, unless we have a massive increase in vaccine doses,” Davies said

The arena site, opened Jan. 25 and operated by health volunteers and the National Guard, is not the only local option for vaccines. Eligible patients may also contact their local hospital or clinic for appointments. Confluence Health says to this point it’s administered second doses to more than 2,400 patients

Once this tier of Phase 1B is complete, Tier 2 allows doses for high risk critical workers age 50 and older in sectors like K-12 education, agriculture, grocery stores, childcare and public transit. That tier is not expected to open until spring.

The Wenatchee site operates Monday through Friday, and new vaccination signups open noon each Sunday for the following week. If you qualify, go to prepmod.doh.wa.gov, and enter your information, or call (800) 525-0127 or (888) 856-5816.