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Hundreds of vaccine appointments left unfilled at Tacoma Dome

Cars lined up at the Tacoma Dome COVID-19 vaccination site. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Dammeier/Twitter)

Six hundred coronavirus vaccine appointments a day are going unfilled at the Tacoma Dome alone.

Pierce County remains stuck in Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan, meaning there is a big incentive for people there to get vaccinated.

Health officials say more people need to get vaccinated for infections to drop. And if the leftover vaccines are any indication, there is a lot of work to do in Pierce County to achieve that.

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If there is any reward for waiting to get your coronavirus vaccine, this is surely one of them: There is almost no line at the Tacoma Dome.

Paulo Cesar is from Tacoma and says he and his wife contracted coronavirus.

“Fever, fever,” Cesar said. “That’s the only part, fever.”

So now they are here to get vaccinated against the disease they both survived.

“We need it,” Cesar said. “It’s free. You can come over here and drive. All you have to do is drive.”

“A little bit (of hesitation),” admitted Timothy Mayes, Bremerton, about getting the vaccine. “A little bit. But mainly because I wanted to see how the safety end of it played out. And I’ve got some relatives with the hoax crowd. They’re so far down that they ain’t coming out.”

That may account for the short lines inside the Tacoma Dome.

“It can take you about 45 minutes to get through this site,” said Mike Halladay, spokesman for the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management. “From the time you come in for temp check to the time that you are leaving.”

But, Halladay said, that’s because hundreds of vaccine appointments are going unfilled here despite the Tacoma Dome’s location right off the freeway, extended hours into the evening, Pierce Transit’s offer of free bus rides, and a train station nearby.

“We also recognize that there are people who, even getting into Tacoma is a challenge, so we’re also going out into the community,” Halladay said. “It’s very similar to our COVID testing program that we did earlier.”

Those who overcame their hesitation say the main factor was hearing the experiences of others and, frankly, the passage of time.

“Not hesitant,” said Mike Kitchen from Tacoma, “But we figured we’d just stay in line until the point where everybody had already gotten theirs.”

The hope is that whatever is keeping the hesitant from getting vaccinated will melt away, and they will come to the Tacoma Dome or wherever is easiest to get the vaccine.

Written by KIRO 7 TV reporter Deborah Horne

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