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CHAS 'asking people to be honest' about Washington residency for mass vaccine appointments

State health leaders say anyone getting vaccinated at the Spokane Arena must live or work in Washington, but CHAS Health said verification is difficult.

SPOKANE, Wash. — There is some confusion surrounding verification of Washington state residency for people utilizing a mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Spokane.

The Spokane Arena opened as a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Wednesday morning and has since vaccinated more than 1,700 people. It's one of four mass vaccination sites in Washington state. The clinic in Spokane is a partnership between CHAS Health, the Washington National Guard, Spokane Regional Health District and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH is requiring that people live and work in Washington state in order to get vaccinated at one of our the four clinics, according to a statement issued on Wednesday, Jan. 27

"All of us recognize the desire to get vaccinated and know that neighboring states also are vaccinating their people. If you do not live or work in Washington, please do not make vaccine appointments or travel to these Washington mass vaccination sites for vaccines," the DOH statement reads in part. 

According to the DOH, people who register for vaccines at these four sites may be asked to provide one of the following: 

  • driver's license or work/school ID, 
  • letter with your address,
  • utility bill,
  • statement/letter with a Washington state address, or 
  • voucher from an employer, faith-based institution, health care provider, school, or other registered organization or agency, etc. that the person lives or works in Washington state.

Kelley Charvet, a spokesperson for CHAS, said on Friday that the verification process is "what becomes difficult." The DOH is not requiring that mass vaccine site workers check driver's licenses or utility bills for proof of residency, she added. 

"We are asking individuals to be honest when they are scheduling an appointment that they are falling into those phases and are either residents of the state or work in Washington state," Charvet said.

KREM 2 reached out to the DOH with further clarifying questions about proof of residency but a spokesperson referred us only to the previously released statement. 

Charvet said on Wednesday that the federal government allocates vaccine doses to states based on population and size and, right now, "there is not enough vaccine for everyone who needs one."

"We are relying on the honor system to get us through these phases in an equitable way, and that means trusting that people will not cross state lines into Washington for the purpose of getting vaccinated," she said in part. 

CHAS is also providing information online to North Idaho residents who are looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a local clinic. All individuals and organizations that meet phasing guidelines in Idaho will be contacted directly to make a vaccine appointment, according to CHAS. Walk-ins are not available and a waitlist does not exist.