BFHD provides update on local vaccine rates, worried about Franklin County

KENNEWICK, Wash. – As more people have become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and cases decline, the Benton Franklin Health District said they’re cautiously optimistic about the future.

“We welcome the change that signifies the improvement in our disease activity and reduction in disease transmission,” Dr. Amy Person said.

In a matter of days, all of Washington will move into phase three of reopening. This allows more people inside of businesses and bigger events, with masking and distancing.

Still, Dr. Person said with a decrease in cases and more vaccines, hopefully we will stay there.

“We are really approaching a time of cautious optimism,” the Health Officer said.

This week, Benton County residents reached a positive vaccine milestone.

“More individuals have been vaccinated than have infected with COVID-19,” Dr. Person said.

READ MORE: Two million Washington residents to become eligible on March 31st

Yet, there are still vaccine hoaxes floating around.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said for example, getting vaccinated will not void your life insurance.

“Vaccination does remain the safest way for us to ensure the community remains immune to,” Dr. Person added.

However, the health district is concerned about Franklin County.

Dr. Person explained at their current rate of case positivity, they wouldn’t qualify to remain in phase three.

“It does provide the community the opportunity to make those changes in behavior or habit that will help reduce the amount of disease in that community,” she said.

She went onto explain that a majority of people in Franklin County live or work in congregate settings and have not been able to work remotely, to avoid infection.

Now, 13 percent of Franklin County residents qualify for the vaccine. She hopes this will bring a decrease in infection.

If the two counties do end up in separate phases on April 12, when the DOH re-evaluates counties, they will look to the state for guidance.

“So we will be looking at how to address that challenge around how we approach our messaging how we approach our outreach,” Dr. Person said.

To find information on vaccine eligibility or locations, visit this part of KAPP KVEW’s website.