It’s the third week of Covid vaccinations in Washington. Hospitals and other health care facilities are making varying degrees of progress.
In Republic, local hospital officials expect to begin administering second doses of the two-dose regimen this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday.
Ferry County Hospital CEO Aaron Edwards is proud of what his employees have been able to accomplish in terms of inoculating people during the last few weeks.
“We purchased two small tiny homes, one for a testing trailer and one for a vaccination trailer so we didn’t bring folks into our facility as much as possible to protect our long-term care residents that live here," he said.
He and his staff cobbled together enough vaccine, some of their own, some donated by a hospital in Tonasket and some by the health district in Colville, to get that first dose administered.
“We’re so grateful to have gotten the vaccine and been able to get those long-term care residents and 1-A group pretty much done, with a few exceptions that we’ll pick up this week," Edwards said.
“It is really exciting for us to get to that second dose. It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment," said Ferry County Hospital chief nursing officer, Cindy Chase.
They say the first round of inoculations involved careful planning to make sure that when the vaccine was ready, so were the people. And when there were extra doses, Chase says they were able to find eligible recipients.
“We have a line now, a hotline that people can call. They can say, ‘We want the vaccine.’ And so we keep this long list of when we can get these folks in," she said.
Now the second round of vaccines is ready to administer. Chase thinks she and her team have the routine down.
“We had told folks before they came, fill out your consent form ahead of time, so that helped a lot. We were really pretty lucky. We moved people through fairly quickly and so I’m imagining, I’m hoping, it will be even faster this year," Chase said.
And once that’s done, Chase says Ferry County Hospital will be ready for to inoculate the next group, the people in 1-B.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he’s encouraged about the state’s Covid vaccine distribution and inoculation situation.
The governor says he was skeptical until he asked a group of hospital CEOs on Tuesday about what was going on in their communities. He said he learned that several health systems have put the great majority of their vaccines into the arms of their highest-risk employees. But he says more should be done.
“We’re looking for ways to have a more efficient way to move vaccine from one hospital to another if there’s an excess supply. We’re looking for ways that might make it easier for hospitals to stand up the mass vaccination units that are not on the hospital location and we’re looking at multiple ways to do this. So we are working to accelerate this program, but what I heard today was very encouraging that we are moving forward," he said.