SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s been a busy week for local COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The Spokane Arena opened as a mass vaccination site on Wednesday while other clinics in the area have been serving thousands of community members.
Since receiving their first doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine in December, more than 10,000 people have been vaccinated at MultiCare's Deaconess Hospital.
“We have a really well dialed-in process,” said Dr. Jessica McHugh, the primary care medical director for MultiCare's Rockwood Clinic.
Doctors, hospital staff and volunteers are constantly rotating shifts throughout each day to keep the line flowing. This week, there have been nearly 700 people coming in every 24 hours.
The patients who received their shot are considered high-risk individuals. Social distancing has been a challenge, especially for seniors who’ve been separated from their families.
“You could just feel that people had kind of let down their guards,” said Estelle West, who received her vaccine from the clinic. “Obviously wearing our masks, staying six feet apart, but there was hope that this thing isn’t going to go on for years and years.”
When patients arrive, they check in, show their proof of eligibility and confirm their vaccination time.
After receiving their first dose, a second visit can be confirmed before they even leave the facility. Appointments are no longer being accepted this week because so many people have flocked to the clinic.
“We’re sort of at the mercy of the state in terms of additional vaccine allocations, McHugh said. “For those on the schedule, we’re just going to keep vaccinating.
MultiCare will receive more shipments of the vaccine as soon as availability increases. In the meantime, officials recommend checking for eligibility using Washington state's PhaseFinder tool and checking online to see when appointments reopen.
“The most important thing is just being with our friends and family,” West said when asked what she was most looking forward to once getting her second dose of the vaccine. “Oh my goodness, we have some great trips planned when everyone gets clear of this.”