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NW Health Care Providers Get To Work Vaccinating Employees

Cascade Medical Center

Hospitals around the Northwest are busy vaccinating their highest-risk employees.

The Providence Health System in Spokane began that work last Friday. Spokeswoman Beth Hegde says inoculations will continue all week at Sacred Heart.

In western Washington, the CHI Franciscan Health System says it has vaccinated about 2,500 staff members since the middle of last week.

Some of the state’s smallest health care providers are relying on larger partners to protect their high-risk workers. In central Washington, for example, Confluence Health in Wenatchee is working with Cascade Medical Center in Leavenworth.

“Confluence received the Pfizer vaccine and they have helped vaccinate 21 of our employees who are in the high-risk category. We feel really grateful for that," said Diane Blake, the CEO of Cascade Medical Center.

Hospitals expect to receive more shipments of the Pfizer vaccine this week along with the new Moderna vaccine.

Cassie Sauer from the Washington State Hospital Association says smaller hospitals like Cascade are more likely to get Moderna than Pfizer.

“There’s two reasons for that," Sauer said. "One is it does not have to be kept as cold so it’s a lot easier to make sure it stays effective. The second is that the Pfizer vaccine comes in trays of 975 doses and Moderna comes in trays of 100 and so you can actually distribute it to a lot of smaller places.”

Sauer says, between the two, she expects Washington hospitals to receive 180,000 doses this week.