EAST WENATCHEE — People may be eligible to be vaccinated, but that does not mean there is a vaccination dose available for them to take.
Chelan-Douglas Board of Health Director Dan Sutton made that clarifying statement Monday during a board meeting. It was in response to Health District Administrator Luke Davies laying out the two counties’ strategy for distributing the COVID-19 vaccines as they become available.
When the governor announced people over 65 years of age could get vaccinated it caused some confusion, Sutton said.
“People rightly or automatically assumed, ‘Oh great, I can go down now and get my vaccination,’” he said. “When the reality was, yes you may be eligible, but the supply chain was not there to accommodate everyone.”
The health district is only receiving between 400 to 3,000 doses a week from the federal government, Davies said.
“So, what this means is all our partners are ready and willing to put shots in arms,” he said. “But unfortunately, we’re just not getting enough of them.”
The purpose of ramping up the mass vaccination site at the Town Toyota Center is so when vaccines do become available, the health district is ready to distribute them quickly, Davies said. It might also mean that some areas that aren’t ready to distribute vaccines will get passed over and the Chelan-Douglas Health District will receive their distribution.
At the moment, all open vaccination appointments at the Town Toyota Center have been filled for this week, he said. People can call 1-800-525-0127 or go online at www.prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ to get scheduled for the future, but it will all depend on how many vaccines the area receives.
Don’t drive up to the Town Toyota Center if you don’t have an appointment, Davies said. You will be turned away and it will slow down the process of vaccinating people who do have an appointment.
Davies said he knows that residents probably feel frustrated at the trickle of information that has been coming out about when they can get vaccinated. But the health district and the state are recreating national supply chain systems to a degree that hasn’t existed since World War II.
The reason for the confusion and the delays is not due to anyone’s incompetency, Chelan-Douglas Health Officer Dr. Malcolm Butler said
“I want you to imagine a team of firefighters that are fighting a wildfire on the side of a mountain,” Butler said. “And they are fully engaged in fighting this wildlife. Then they are told they have to plan a wedding for a thousand people and they’ve never planned a wedding.”
The health district is facing that level of complexity right now, he said.