Yakima Co. got just 500 first vaccine doses this week

Most of the 3,700 doses received were booster shots
Emily Goodell, KAPP-KVEW
The Yakima County Mass Vaccination Clinic at State Fair Park has almost everything it needs to open — except the vaccine.

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — Yakima County received 3,700 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week from the state, but just a fraction of them will go to those needing their first dose.

Most of the doses — 3,200 — are booster shots, which will be given to those who have been waiting in line to get their second dose. The state Department of Health is currently prioritizing those second doses.

“500 doses is not even a drop in the bucket, but we’ll work on getting those vaccines out to anyone who’s eligible as soon as we can,” said Nathan Johnson, Local Emergency Response Coordinator for the Yakima Health District. 

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During a weekly COVID-19 update held via Zoom, Johnson said the amount of vaccine the county has been receiving is nowhere near the amount needed to open its drive-thru mass vaccination clinic at State Fair Park.

The county-run mass vaccination site has been ready to go for weeks, but without vaccine doses to administer, has been unable to open.

Johnson said with the State Fair Park site, three hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other vaccination locations, Yakima County has the capacity to administer much more vaccine than the amount it’s currently getting from the state.

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“Ideally, with a county this size, with the systems that we’ve built in place … we would need anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 doses of vaccine into the county each week,” Johnson said. “I’ll remind everyone that we got 500 first doses this week.”

Johnson said there is some hope; right now, the country is relying on Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but he said other companies may be able to get emergency approval for their vaccines soon.

If that happens, Johnson said the county could see an increase in the number of doses it’s receiving from the state.