SPOKANE, Wash. — New appointments at the mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spokane Arena will not be available for the first full week of March.
Washington Department of Health officials said this is so they they can catch up on appointments that were canceled due to shipping delays and to focus on people who need their second dose. The state said only second doses will be administered to ensure people get vaccinated within the 28 day timeframe.
The vaccination clinic reopened its doors Tuesday after inclement weather nationwide delayed the arrival of vaccine doses for providers throughout the Spokane area.
A line with hundreds of people wrapped around the Arena on Tuesday as people waited for their vaccine. Appointments that were originally scheduled to take place last week were beginning Tuesday morning and will continue through Saturday, Feb. 27.
The Washington State Department of Health is contacting those whose appointments need to be rescheduled. Jennifer Dvorak, who received the vaccine at the Spokane Arena on Tuesday, said her appointment was scheduled for 10:50 a.m. but she received an email that told her to arrive at noon or later.
The mass vaccination site received 8,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Officials estimate that 4,000 will be used to cover appointments scheduled last week and the other half is this week's allotment.
The state will only be vaccinating whose who already had appointments, or those who had to be rescheduled. Organizers said they have to vaccinate about 260 people an hour just to catch up.
At this point, we still don't know when the next group of appointments will be made available. The Department of Health also isn't saying yet how people will be able to schedule those appointments because they don't yet have the website available.
Mass vaccination clinic appointments rescheduled
DOH staff are calling patients who need to reschedule their appointments directly. The caller will already know the date and time of the original appointment and will only be rescheduling, a spokesperson for SRHD said. Patients will only be asked to verify their identity with date of birth and contact information and won't need to provide personal health information.
If a patient feels uncomfortable or wants to verify the caller is “real," they should call the DOH COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127 and press # to talk to a representative. DOH will direct the patient to the correct phone number to confirm their rescheduled appointment.
Providence wrote on Facebook all appointments at Holy Family Hospital on Monday, Feb. 22 have been moved to Friday, Feb. 26 at the same time of day.
Providence previously reminded people there are "no health implications in delaying the vaccine for this short period of time."
Spokane County's Interim Health Officer Dr. Frank Velazquez echoed this sentiment, saying on Wednesday that receiving the second dose of the vaccine about one week to 10 days later than expected will not have a "significant impact."
"If you do miss your second dose by a few days, a week, ten days, it's not really going to impact the effectiveness. You need to try to stay as close as you can to the date for your second dose but...it's really not going to have a significant impact," he said.
MultiCare in the Inland Northwest also announced on Facebook that its vaccine shipment has been delayed. The company said it was rescheduling all appointments that were set for Tuesday and Wednesday.
MultiCare will reach out to those who had appointments and there is no need to call, according to the Facebook post.