Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. File photo

Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. File photo

More people can get the COVID vaccine on March 31, but supply is still limited

The number of people eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is set to increase in King County, but the number of available doses has yet to keep pace.

That’s according to Jeff Duchin, King County’s public health officer, who held a press conference March 26. The county’s top doctor urged caution as the weather turns, vaccinations roll out, and people seek to return to a more normal spring.

“Until enough of us are vaccinated, it remains critical to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Duchin said.

Coronavirus cases are increasing in the county, reaching 282 positive cases on March 24, an increase from only two weeks ago, when numbers were declining. Duchin urged residents to remain vigilant — to wear masks, continue socially distancing if they and others have not received vaccinations, and to consider cancelling spring break travel plans.

For those who do travel during spring break, Duchin said the new strains of the virus, which are circulating in the U.S., pose a threat. If residents choose to travel, he advised they get tested for COVID-19 one to three days beforehand, and to avoid traveling if they receive a positive test. Upon returning, residents should get tested within three to five days or quarantine for 10 days.

Vaccines continue to be distributed in the county. As of March 26, more than 600,000 people in King County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. There are currently three vaccines approved for use in the U.S. Two of them — the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — require two shots, while the Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires one shot.

Every area of the county has surpassed the 70% vaccination benchmark for those 65 and older.

Countywide, and across age groups, a gap exists between people of color and white residents, with white residents receiving vaccines at a higher rate. The county is working to close the race and ethnicity gaps. High-volume sites in Auburn and Kent have delivered more than 151,000 doses, with nearly half of the clients at these sites identifying as people of color.

Duchin cautioned that there is an existing and growing gap between the number of available vaccines and people who want a shot.

As of March 31, the date when Gov. Jay Inslee said more people will be eligible to receive vaccines, some 430,000 additional residents are expected to become eligible for a shot. In total, some 1.2 million residents will be eligible. Only about half of these 1.2 million residents have already received a first dose.

The increased eligibility comes with no increase in actual doses coming into the county yet, although Duchin said he expects more vaccines will be available in April.

President Joe Biden said he’s pushing to make everyone in the country eligible to receive a vaccine my May.

However, supply remains limited, at least for the week of March 28. Duchin said they’re expecting to receive, at most, around 50,000 first doses countywide, including federally-supplied vaccines.

“We’re asking for everyone’s patience and understanding,” Duchin said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell
Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Campbell stepping down in June

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer appointed as incoming superintendent starting July 1, 2021.

A student holds a sign that reads "I can't breathe" at the protest on June 10, 2020, outside of Thomas Jefferson High School. (Olivia Sullivan/staff photo)
Federal Way mayor on Chauvin verdict: ‘This was the right decision’

City’s police department has made policy changes in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The Redondo Beach boat launch is located at Redondo Beach Drive South in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of South King Fire
Man saved from car after driving into water off Redondo Beach boat launch

South King Fire rescue swimmer pulled the man from the sinking car around 12:30 a.m. April 16.

Lydia Assefa-Dawson
Federal Way Councilmember Lydia Assefa-Dawson announces run for King County Council District 7

Assefa-Dawson pledges to bring leadership and perspectives as a housing advocate, person with disabilities, immigrant, and mom to a seat held by 28-year incumbent.

Screenshot
Black Education Strategy Roundtable receives grant to advance racial equity

Federal Way-based organization aims to create equitable educational opportunities for Black students.

File photo
Multiple apartments, vehicles struck in shooting at Federal Way complex | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Federal Way police log April 7-13.

Photo via Pexels
King County residents needed for first respiratory study using Apple watches

UW study to help find if devices can detect early warning signs of acute respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and flu.

Pexels photo
Celebrate Centerstage 2021 fundraiser kicks off May 9

Proceeds from the annual event benefit artist stipends, education programming and general operations.

Photo courtesy of Johnson and Johnson (jnj.com)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted in Washington over side effect

Following federal guidance, Washington health care providers are temporarily pausing Johnson &… Continue reading

Most Read