SEATTLE — State numbers show a quarter of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, though health officials said a greater supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is needed.
“When those vaccines are offered to you, and you’re eligible, please don’t wait,” said Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah. “This is our way out of this horrific pandemic."
Approximately 4.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Washington as of April 17, according to the state Department of Health.
“It feels so good to be vaccinated, at least have the first one," said King County resident Katherine Peacock. "It’s really nice because my mom is older, and she has a lot of health issues."
“To know that I’m about to be fully vaccinated is great because I can go help her again,” Peacock added.
Peacock received her vaccine at a clinic run by the Seattle Fire Department at Seward Park. Wednesday afternoon, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the facility will open to all adults over 60 without a vaccination.
The announcement comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise in parts of the state with new, more contagious variants of the virus fueling the increase. The variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now the predominant variant in Washington state.
“We are close to turning the corner in the state of Washington, but we are seeing the beginning of a fourth wave," said Shah. That means people need to hang on longer."
Health officials in Washington state said they’re administering shots as fast as possible, and are ready for more. The state expects 370,0000 doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine next week, which is on par for weeks past. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine remains on hold, though officials said it represents a small percentage of total doses, at times around 5%.
“The progress from that showed that we have the ability to be able to vaccinate a tremendous amount of Washingtonians if we just had the supply,” Shah continued.
Nationally, President Joe Biden marked a milestone saying the U.S. will reach the goal of administering 200 million vaccine doses by the end of the day Wednesday.