No new appointments this week at Fairgrounds vaccination site

The Department of Health said it plans to prioritize second doses this week

RIDGEFIELD — NOTE: The number provided by the Dept. of Health for questions related to the Fairgrounds vaccination site does not appear to be working. In the meantime, you can contact the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 and then press ‘#’ in order to speak with someone, or receive a call back.

The only first doses of COVID-19 vaccine given out this week at the Clark County Fairgrounds mass vaccination site will be on Tuesday.

Those appointments will be set aside for people who were in line last Friday or Saturday when the site was forced to close due to severe weather.

Safeway Pharmacist Kristen Morin delivers a vaccine dose at the Clark County Fairgrounds earlier this month. No new appointments will be available this week. File photo
Safeway Pharmacist Kristen Morin delivers a vaccine dose at the Clark County Fairgrounds earlier this month. No new appointments will be available this week. File photo

In order to ensure people vaccinated at the state’s mass vaccination sites can receive their second dose on time, most sites will prioritize them. The Clark County Fairgrounds site will not be scheduling any first doses this week said the Department of Health on Sunday.

“We are monitoring the distribution of doses closely and making adjustments as needed,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “While the limited availability of first doses will be challenging this coming week, focusing on second doses will help pave the way for an improved and more sustainable allocation of vaccines in future weeks.”

Anyone who received their first dose at the Fairgrounds should have received an email notifying them when they can come back for their second vaccination. If you did not get one, you’re asked to call Safeway at 253-259-6312. Representatives are available weekdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. to help with scheduling. 

(NOTE: Several readers have pointed out that this phone number goes directly to the voicemail of a single Safeway Pharmacy support person, and most said they were unable to speak with anyone. We have reached out to the Department of Health who confirmed they are aware of the issue and working with Safeway Pharmacies on a better number to put out to the public)

If you were unable to get a second dose appointment or confirmation email, you can bring your vaccination card and ID to the fairgrounds and staff on site will honor it.

Late last month, when the state opened vaccinations to people over age 65 (or 50 in multigenerational households) and mandated that providers use vaccine supplies within a week of receiving them, many hospitals and clinics opened up reserves they were holding back for second dose appointments.

The state said Friday that providers had requested 170,000 second doses for the week, nearly double the 92,325 second dose allocations received. 

“The difference is likely due to the fact that some providers in Washington used doses of vaccine that were intended to complete the two dose vaccine series as the initial dose when vaccinating community members earlier in January,” the department said in a news release. “Unfortunately, this now means that a portion of next week’s available first doses will need to be used to complete the series for these people.”

Vaccine shipments from the Centers for Disease Control are also being delayed until Tuesday, due to severe weather across much of the country.

Due to the move to second doses at the fairgrounds site, no appointment slots have been opened today, as they normally would be. The state remains hopeful that, after they are caught up on second doses and supplies continue to increase, further appointments will be opened in the coming weeks.