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City of Seattle approved to administer COVID vaccine to residents, workers

Alice Cortez, nurse manager at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from CVS pharmacist Matt Talavera on Dec. 28, 2020 in Kirkland, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The Washington State Department of Health has approved the City of Seattle to be a COVID-19 vaccine distributor, which means that the city will receive weekly shipments from the DOH and can administer it to residents and workers in Seattle.

“We know that Seattle’s road to reopening and economic recovery starts with vaccinations, and today is the first step in the City’s efforts to significantly increase the vaccination rate and ensure the vaccine is easy and accessible to our City’s workers and residents,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. “Even as more of us begin to get vaccinated, we’ll need to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and following all public health guidance.”

Virologist: Distribution of COVID vaccine bigger issue than supply

The initial vaccination efforts by the city will start with two mobile teams from the Seattle Fire Department, focused first on vaccinating nearly 1,000 residents at adult family homes. The city will be distributing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“For the vaccine to give us true hope and not just a glimmer of hope, we’ve got to get that vaccine in people’s arms,” Durkan said.

Fire Chief Harold Scoggins says the mobile teams will fill the gaps in vaccination efforts at adult family homes not served by the federal government’s partnership with CVS/Walgreens, as well as at locations identified in partnership with Public Health — Seattle & King County. There are 100 homes listed to start where the teams will vaccinate residents and staff members starting as soon as Thursday.

The SFD teams expect to vaccinate all the identified homes by Jan. 24, with the second doses provided by Feb. 21. Scoggins said the second dose will be scheduled at the same time the first dose is given.

“Seattle Fire is the first fire and emergency medical services agency in the state to be approved to administer the COVID-19 vaccine,” Scoggins said.

“We’ve transitioned our core work before,” he added, referring to the department’s work at the city’s COVID testing sites, “… and are really looking forward to serving our community in this new capacity.”

Scoggins believes the teams will be able to vaccinate upwards of 100 people per day, reaching up to 10 facilities per day. Ideally, he says these vaccinations will happen in an outdoor space, under a tent or covered area whenever possible.

He added that the goal is to expand this effort further in the future. As long as the city has the supply, SFD will continue to help in the next phases.

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Mayor Durkan said the supply of the vaccine will determine how many can be vaccinated through the city’s program, but there is a certain amount of vaccine in the state and Durkan says it needs to get into the arms of people who need it most. She also noted that the city and its partners will continue exploring mass sites for vaccinations similar to the COVID-19 testing sites run by the city now as the state’s designated phases advance forward and more people are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

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