Yakima County vaccine efforts continue during heat wave

Yakima Walk Up Vaccination Clinic State Fair Park
Credit: Emily Goodell, KAPP-KVEW

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — The Yakima Health District is continuing COVID-19 vaccination efforts despite dealing with record-high temperatures.

The community vaccination center at State Fair Park had to close down Tuesday due to the heat wave and move operations temporarily to the Yakima Valley Mall. Several other days, the center changed its hours to start and end earlier to beat the hottest times of day.

“With this heat, we did see a slight decrease [in vaccinations],” said Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez, Communications Specialist with the Yakima Health District. “This could have been due to the hours that have changed.”

Badillo-Sanchez said the large freezers used to store vaccine doses have not been affected by the high temperatures.

Despite the slight decrease during the heat wave, Badillo-Sanchez said overall vaccination numbers have increased, while cases have decreased.

“We have been seeing our trends go down, so less COVID 19 cases as well as less hospitalizations, so that means we’re doing really good as a county,” Badillo-Sanchez said.

As of June 28, more than half of individuals 16 and older in Yakima County — 57.8 percent — had started their vaccination process and 51.4 percent had been fully vaccinated.

“We’re still continuing to see that increase of those numbers and continuing to see people in our community get vaccinated,” Badillo-Sanchez said.

However, there’s been 38 cases of the Delta variant of the virus reported countywide, which experts said is significantly more transmissible than other variants.

“It’s still important that we continue to do our efforts, to continue to do our work, so we can continue to be safe and continue to see those cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations decrease in our community,” Badillo-Sanchez said.

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