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On one year anniversary of first COVID case, WA remains short of vaccine goal

Gordon Narayan is overcome with emotion after visiting with a patient during his cleaning shift at Harborview Medical Center on August 20, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Today, Jan. 21, marks one year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the United States, in Snohomish County.

“It is definitely a somber day. Our heart goes out to everyone in our state, and across the nation, and really across the world, who’s lost family and friends to this virus,” said Michele Roberts, acting assistant secretary with the Washington State Department of Health.

In the state DOH’s weekly update, Washington’s Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah says he’s aware the state is falling short of its vaccine goal.

View Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine phases

“Our goal is 45,000 vaccines a day. We’re at about a third of that, and we know that we do not have enough supply of vaccines coming into our state,” he said.

So far, the state has administered nearly half the total doses it has received. Health officials say the state needs about 300,000 doses per week from the federal government to meet the goal of 45,000 a day.

DOH promises to administer vaccine faster, blames inconsistent flow of doses

Meanwhile, officials note that vaccine provider enrollment is growing, so there will hopefully be more options for where people can get the vaccine. The state is also working to establish mass vaccination sites in Wenatchee, Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Ridgefield, as well as Snohomish, Pierce, and King counties that could open as soon as Monday, though the plans are not yet finalized.

“We have to do everything we can to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible,” Dr. Shah said.

He also noted that new variants of COVID-19 that have shown up in other countries and other states will eventually make their way to Washington. Even once people are vaccinated, they should keep wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping distance from others.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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