Eligible for the vaccine? Health officials say make an appointment ASAP

RICHLAND, Wash. – Vaccine sites and clinics are getting busier by the day as more people become eligible.

Come March 31st, the state will open up Phase 1B, tier three and four.

On May 1st, anyone older than 16 will be eligible to get the vaccine.

Both state and local health officials have urged those who are eligible now, to get vaccinated before eligibility opens up.

“We love having the vaccinations here, it’s a really positive atmosphere. We have lots of people coming in, excited to get their vaccine and start feeling a little more back to normal,” Megan Joyce, a Nurse with Kadlec said.

“The National Guard likes to be busy, they want to work hard and fast so we wanna fill all those appointment times,” Ben Shearer, with the Kennewick Mass Vaccination Site added.

Joyce has overseen the vaccine clinics that Kadlec has held. She said they only open up appointments at the Healthplex in Richland, when they have guaranteed doses and appointments fill up quick.

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“If you’re eligible we would love to have you here, we are here and prepared we have lots of caregivers volunteering their time and we are able to give lots of vaccines,” Joyce said during their Friday clinic.

At the Mass Vaccination Site in Kennewick, Ben Shearer encourages everyone who’s eligible right now to get vaccinated, because come May 1st, appointments will be hard to come by.

“We really want them to do it now because next week it’ll be back like it was in the beginning it’s gonna be very hard to get in here and get appointments,” he explained.

Shearer said it’s key to make an appointment, that way they know how many vaccines to prepare and if they’ll have any leftover at the end of the day.

“The more we have that done ahead of time, the faster the process is. The sooner we get everybody vaccinated the sooner we can open up, which is really what it’s all about, we wanna make Tri-Cities safe,” he said.

When asked if the site is ready for an influx of patients in a month, Shearer said they’re more than ready.

“We’ve got this down to a science, the National Guard unit out here is just amazing people to work with,” he said.

Remember, you must provide proof that you’re eligible through the PhaseFinder Tool.

Washington’s Department of Health also has a tool to help you find and schedule vaccination appointments here.