OKANOGAN COUNTY – As Washington state enters Phase B1 of the statewide vaccination plan, Okanogan County health officials are announcing a collaborative communication effort to provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Jan. 18, Gov. Jay Inslee announced statewide plans for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The state is transitioning to the next phase of vaccine eligibility, which includes individuals over the age of 65. This is an estimated 22 percent of Okanogan County residents. Also eligible are those living in multigenerational households over the age of 50.
With limited vaccine doses, Okanogan County health officials are planning a coordinated effort to maximize vaccinations of the County’s most vulnerable populations.
“We applaud the Department of Health in getting vaccine to rural areas, but we need more vaccine to accelerate vaccination. This new phase will move us ahead and we look forward to getting this group vaccinated and moving onward to the next,” said Dr. James Wallace, MD MPH, Okanogan County Health Officer.
“We are excited to add the vaccine to our arsenal of strategies to get through this pandemic. Getting the vaccine and continuing a commitment to hand washing, masking, distancing, avoiding gatherings outside of one’s household and travel only for essential purposes will open our businesses, schools and economy faster,” said Dr. Wallace.
Part of the county-wide collaboration includes plans for a centralized COVID-19 Vaccine call center and registration system. This will provide a means to ensure all reliable information is reaching the entire county quickly and efficiently.
“The overall goal is to offer one step for our communities to receive up-to-date information,” said Alan Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of Mid-Valley Hospital & Clinic. “With a single call, residents will be able to obtain information on availability, eligibility, vaccination sites, clinics and options to register. And our hospitals, community clinics and public health staff can continue to focus on serving the health needs of our residents.”
Currently, pre-registration for the COVID-19 Vaccine is available online for North Valley
Hospital (nvhospital.org/phase1b), Mid-Valley Hospital & Clinic (mvhealth.org/covid19), Three Rivers Hospital (www.threerivershospital.net/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccine), and Family Health Centers (myfamilyhealth.org/covid-vaccine).
For additional online vaccine resources, information and help, visit Okanogan County Public Health Department (okanogancountycovid19.org/covid-19-vaccine) and Confluence Health