Kittitas County COVID-19 Vaccine Update

KITTITAS COUNTY, WA - Kittitas County continues to update the public on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process every Monday. 

The Kittitas County Public Health Department have received many phone calls and inquiries from people who are eager to access the vaccine.

If you are a healthcare worker, first responder, employee of a Long-Term Care Facility (LTCF), or a resident of an LTCF you can get the vaccine now. Phase 1a is available. Phase 1b guidance has not been provided by Washington state.

COVID-19 vaccinations for the 1a phase is nearly complete in Kittitas County.  Long Term Care Facility staff who were initially waiting for contracted pharmacies to provide vaccine are instead utilizing our local vaccine supply via Kittitas Valley Hospital. Prestige received vaccine via their federal partnership on December 31, 2020. Hearthstone received vaccine from Albertson’s Safeway on January 1, 2021. LTCF locations that did not partner with federal pharmacies have been vaccinated via Kittitas County. Pacific is working with the Incident Management team and will receive vaccine this week.

“We cannot wait for federal pharmacy partnerships to ensure the safety of our at-risk residents in LTCF agencies,” states Incident Commander Darren Higashiyama.  The intention behind who receives the allocated doses is centered around exposure and severity. For example, healthcare workers and law enforcement are exposed. Folks in this category cannot stay home and must provide public service roles, which likely places them in contact with people who have COVID-19. People who are at high risk of fatality associated with COVID-19 are also prioritized, for example senior residents of congregate living facilities, are also in 1a.

Kittitas County is unique in that our distribution is highly effective and our first allocations of vaccine have been offered to all 1a individuals. Numerous counties across the state have not completed vaccine for the 1a populations and are not close to that completion, which means the 1b guidance has not been released for the state. This makes the position unique and difficult. The Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD), Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) and the Kittitas County Incident Management Team (IMT) will not waste or stockpile COVID-19 vaccine.
“We had roughly 100 vaccines beyond what was required in 1a,” states Incident Commander Higashiyama. “Rather than stockpile the vaccine, we asked school districts to identify their most at-risk staff to receive vaccinations prior to 1b guidance being released. The decision was made based on the number of vaccine available and districts already have a system in place to ensure those individuals complete the second dose.”

Washington State has not released 1b guidance. We anticipate that 1b will include people over 75 and people in specific workplace environments.  Kittitas County is ready to administer 1b as soon as guidance is released from the state and additional vaccine becomes available. We will notify the public, immediately, when 1b guidance is released.