EAST WENATCHEE — For East Wenatchee resident Mary Perkins and her daughter Sue Kane to get their COVID-19 vaccination, it was a game of telephone.
Kane, 66, had spent hours on the phone and online trying to find an open clinic for her mother, who was over 80 years old and eligible. Then, on Jan. 19, Perkins called and said she had an appointment at Central Washington Hospital. The appointment was in an hour.
“Mom called me and was like, ‘We’re going!’” said Kane. “I’m sure it’s frustrating for people who were trying to do it the traditional way.”
The mother-daughter pair received their Moderna vaccination by mid-afternoon that day, about two hours after calling.
I thought they were very efficient,” said Perkins. “An hour for something like that I thought was minimal.”
As of Monday, first doses of the vaccine have been administered to 2,473 residents in Chelan County and 1,674 in Douglas County, according to the state Department of Health. Confluence Health administered 4,125 first doses and 2,033 second doses, totaling 6,159 doses, by the end of opening day Monday.
Central Washington Hospital requires eligible candidates to schedule appointments, but appointments can fill fast. The hospital will add clinic dates when they receive additional vaccines, according to a provider’s note.
Perkins heard about the vaccination site at Central Washington Hospital from a friend, who heard it from a friend. When they arrived at the hospital, they noticed others they knew who probably received a call from mutual friends, according to Perkins and Kane.
“One of the persons that I talked to said her daughter works at the hospital,” said Perkins. “She called and told her to get down there right away. It was that kind of thing.”
When the duo passed through the main entrance of the hospital, they were stopped for temperature checks and asked their reason for visit. For the vaccination site, Kane and Perkins were sent down the elevator, where a hospital employee walked them to the vaccination site in the cafeteria.
When the mother-daughter pair entered the cafeteria, there were already over 30 people in line, they guessed. The room was segmented into checkpoint stations. There was another temperature check and basic information collected regarding symptoms and insurance. Perkins was asked if she received a letter from her doctor, but she nor anyone she talked to at the clinic got a letter.
Kane said she asked a clinic worker, “Is there any chance I can get it? She said no at first, which is fine.” Kane, who is over 65, knew she would be eligible eligible to receive the vaccine in the coming week. “Then, she came up to me before we got too far and said, ‘You know what, go ahead and do it.’
The next station they give you paperwork to fill out, similar to paperwork when receiving a flu shot. Kane and Perkins were then met by a hospital employee and escorted to the end of the line for the shot station. Then, at the shot station, you went to the next room where you went for 15 minutes to see if you had a reaction but that’s also where they made your next appointment.
Neither had any significant side effects to the vaccine besides sore arms comparable to a “flu shot,” according to Perkins. The two received a pamphlet that if they were experiencing worsened side effects, to call their doctor and also make a report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Where are we with polio right now and why?” said Kane. “We have used [vaccines] for quite a while now and we know that it works.”
The two already have their follow-up appointment scheduled in mid-February, but in the meantime they were still encouraged to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“I think people need to feel that they can trust this,” said Perkins. “If we don’t take it we are going to be in this forever.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Town Toyota Center administered 6,159 doses by the end of opening day Monday. The article is now updated with the correct information.