Updated, 2:30 p.m., Friday:
Wenatchee — The mass vaccination site at the Town Toyota Center will open on Tuesday.
The Chelan-Douglas Health District and the state Department of Health are still working out details, but that’s the plan at this point, Health District Administrator Luke Davies said on Friday. Officials are tentatively planning a soft roll out of maybe 400 people per day over the next week and then it will will start in earnest on Feb. 1.
People should not just drive up, though and try to get vaccinated, Davies said. People can call 1-800-525-0127 for vaccine information.
Despite the vaccination site opening the amount of vaccines available is still limited, he said. It will likely be months before everyone who wants a vaccine can get one.
The state is currently in Phase 1B of vaccination distribution, meaning it's available to anyone 65 or older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household, according to the Department of Health. Frontline health care workers and first responders are also eligible. Here's more information from DOH.
NCW — The state Department of Health plans on having vaccines in people’s arms at the Town Toyota Center on Monday.
State Secretary of Health Umair Shah said that was the plan during a Thursday morning media briefing. But Shah added that there is a lot of work to still be done and things could change by Monday.
“The plan is for Monday and that is what we’re working towards, unless something happens that we do not foresee right now,” Shah said.
The sites will be operated by Washington National Guard troops, he said. They are in communication with the Chelan-Douglas Health District about the operation of the site.
The Town Toyota Center was identified as a site for distributing vaccines months ago, Shah said. It has been part of the state’s larger plan for mass vaccinations.
“And so these are not just snap the fingers and boom there you go, now you’ve got a mass vaccination site that’s identified,” he said. “It’s really careful planning that’s been months if not years (in the making).”
Lacy Fehrenbach, state Department of Health deputy secretary, said she’s been in contact with the Chelan-Douglas Health District to coordinate the logistics of the vaccination site.
State Epidemiologist Scott Lindquist also added that he personally called Chelan-Douglas Health Officer Dr. Malcolm Butler and Health Administrator Luke Davies and told them about Gov. Jay Inslee’s plans to start mass vaccinations.
The state Department of Health plans on releasing more information about how the Town Toyota Center will be used as a vaccination site over the weekend, Shah said. It may be too early to ask for finalized details, though, as there are so many moving parts.
Even as the Department of Health works to create state vaccination sites, getting vaccines remains a problem, Shah said during the press conference. The state isn’t receiving enough vaccine doses to hit its target of 45,000 vaccinations a day, but it wants to have the infrastructure in place and ready for when that occurs.
“I don’t believe Washingtonians want, if all of a sudden two weeks from now the (Biden) administration says, ‘Hey we’re going to give you more vaccine,’ that we’re not ready to receive it and it takes us another couple of weeks to ramp up,” Shah said.
Butler said in an email Thursday he did talk to Lindquist on Sunday and was told that somewhere in Wenatchee would be a vaccination site. When he heard Monday, after the governor's announcement, it was the Town Toyota Center, he assumed that the state incident management team had coordinated with the event center. It turned out later they had not done so.
The important thing, though, is that people are going to start getting vaccinated, Butler said.
“We are in a war against this virus,” he said. “When HQ informs the troops in the field that supplies and reinforcements are inbound — we don’t ask too many questions. We express our heartfelt gratitude and head out to make it work.”