Current Vaccination Eligibility: Everyone 12+
Virus statistics: Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) reports 121 positive cases of COVID-19 on Vashon since the pandemic began, no change from the last edition of this report.
Vashon displays strong commitment to vaccination: Vashon’s case rate has been running well below the rest of King County, and one big reason is Vashon’s high rate of vaccination. The Vashon rate has been steadily growing, and now is within striking distance of 90%. Vashon leads all other communities on the Public Health data dashboard web page, with 88.5% of our 12 years and older residents having received their first dose of vaccine. The PHSKC dashboard shows 71.5% of islanders have had their second dose. Public Health points out that 97% of the people newly infected with COVID-19 are people who have not yet been vaccinated.
VACCINATION AVAILABILITY UPDATE
The overview: Both vaccination locations on the island, Sea Mar clinic and Vashon Pharmacy, have been reporting good supplies of vaccine. They are easily meeting the declining demand, as Vashon inches closer to a 90% first-dose vaccination level.
Get your second dose: Vashon shows a 17-point gap between first-dose and second-dose completion of vaccinations, which is a slight improvement from a week ago. It’s crucial to complete your vaccination series, and it’s easy to do. Second-dose vaccinations are available with no appointment, even for people who got their first dose at an off-island provider. Information on getting your full vaccination protection is provided below, in the paragraphs for Sea Mar and Pharmacy operating hours. Just be sure to bring your first-dose vaccination card, so those administering the vaccines can check that they are giving you the correct one and there’s been correct spacing between first and second doses. Those who got a Johnson & Johnson vaccine have completed their vaccination since that’s a one-dose vaccine.
School vaccinations: Vashon Pharmacy, Medical Reserve Corps, and EOC volunteers returned to Vashon High School (VHS) and McMurray Middle School this week to administer second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations. Students who missed the school clinics will need to make arrangements to receive a vaccination elsewhere; the options here on the island are Vashon Pharmacy or Sea Mar Clinic.
Pop-ups discontinued: The vaccination level on Vashon has reached a point where only one or two people have been showing up at the offered pop-up vaccination events. The pop-up vaccination outreach effort has been discontinued.
Sea Mar Clinic vaccinations: You have two choices at Sea Mar for getting your vaccination. You can make an appointment by calling the Sunrise Ridge clinic at (206) 463-3671. Or, you can drop in without an appointment on most weekdays. It’s a good idea to check availability on the Sea Mar website before dropping by, in order to find out what vaccine is on offer and to make sure they’ll be operating: SeaMar.org/COVID-Vaccine. A Spanish-language interpreter is available for early visits beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesdays only.
Vashon Pharmacy vaccinations: You also have two choices to get vaccinated at Vashon Pharmacy. You can make an appointment online at VashonPharmacy.com/COVID. Or, you can just drop in without an appointment from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Please go to the rear of the Pharmacy where the white vaccination tents are set up — you’ll be able to get your shot there, or you’ll see a sign directing you inside the Pharmacy. A Spanish-language interpreter is on-site during most hours of operation.
Vaccination free to all: All COVID-19 vaccinations are free to all. If you have insurance, you’ll be asked for your information so providers can recover the cost of administering the free vaccine, but there’s no co-pay. If you do not have insurance, the cost is covered anyway and you will not be charged.
There’s a new reason to get the shots: Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a suite of new incentives to help encourage unvaccinated Washingtonians to get the COVID shot. The incentives are meant to help the state meet the 70% vaccination goal by the end of June. On Vashon, we have already surpassed the state and county targets, and lead King County with 71.5% of 12 and older residents fully vaccinated. The incentive program will be administered by the Washington State Lottery, with prize drawings for the next four Tuesdays. Previously vaccinated residents are already automatically enrolled in the lottery. The incentives include:
- Lottery cash drawings, with prizes totaling $2 million
- Higher education tuition and expense assistance
- Sports tickets and gear
- Gift cards
- Airline tickets
- Game systems and smart speakers
Domestic violence has gone up: Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) says the incidence of domestic violence has risen substantially in King County during COVID-19. The pandemic has escalated the risk of violence for survivors through more time spent at home, increased levels of household stress, and compromised access to advocacy and direct support systems. PHSKC wants people to know that supporting domestic violence survivors without judgment can reduce feelings of isolation and help them take steps towards safety. Support survivors by believing them and maintaining contact. If you know someone in a potential domestic violence situation, especially if a firearm is present in the household, talk to them about the safe storage of firearms and the option of filing for an extreme risk protection order.
New guidelines released for COVID safety at work: The state Department of Labor & Industries issued updated general workplace guidance. The updated COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance will help employers adapt masking policies to meet new CDC guidelines adopted by Governor Inslee. Washington State’s updated rules specify that fully-vaccinated employees of most industries throughout the state, including fully-vaccinated agricultural workers, no longer need to wear masks or maintain strict social distancing in the workplace, transportation, and housing.
New study shows COVID-19 danger for teens: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges parents to get their teens vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19 because it can cause severe illness even among young people. Director Rochelle Walensky cited a new study that showed increased hospitalization rates of teenagers with COVID-19 in March and April. Severe COVID-19 disease that requires hospitalization has been shown to occur in all age groups. COVID-19 hospitalization rates among adolescents declined in Jan. and Feb. 2021, the report said, but increased during March and April. “I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents, and saddened to see the numbers of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” Walensky said.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Vashon’s pandemic emergency response was activated 450 days ago (14 months and three weeks). Our current operational priorities are health, food security, housing security, and economic recovery, as established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board.
EOC/VashonBePrepared: The activated teams are beginning to set end dates for their work, and starting the process of shifting to a monitoring/standby level. So far, things look good for downshifting by the end of this month. That depends on a number of factors: a continued downward trend in the disease rate, ongoing improvement in the vaccination rate, and conditions in the surrounding region, where vaccination and case rates are not as favorable as here on the island. Given the declining demand for testing, the testing operation could wind down as soon as the week of June 25, although the contact tracing team will continue on standby if needed. Information on how to access other testing resources will be shared with the community well before the testing site shuts down.
EOC: The EOC Team and the other activated teams held their monthly drill night last week, for the first time since February of 2020. The meeting focused on applying lessons from this pandemic activation. A number of themes have begun emerging that will be invaluable opportunities for improvement. These objectives will be folded into the Cascadia Rising 2022 full-scale exercise that is scheduled for next June. Focus areas include volunteer management, integrating multi-discipline task forces using the principles of the Incident Command System, financial management during an emergency, and several more.
MRC/community: The Vashon Medical Reserve Corps continues to offer COVID-19 safety consultations to community groups and businesses. In the last few weeks, consultations have been provided for a dance troupe that will visit VCA in July, the VCA Garden Tour, Open Space for Arts and Community, Vashon Community Care, and Camp Sealth.
MRC/EOC: Mobile teams were at the Vashon Island School District this week to provide second-dose vaccinations, in order to complete vaccination of students aged 12 and older before school lets out, so they will be protected in time for a busy summer of activities.
Volunteers: For the last full week reporting period, 30 volunteers contributed 326 hours of work to VashonBePrepared’s pandemic emergency response. The totals reflect the reduced footprint of volunteer work at the Pharmacy vaccination site, the test site, and the four-day stand down for safety and rest declared for the Memorial Day weekend. Total contributed hours have reached over 30,500 since the activation began. At the FEMA reimbursement grant rate of $31.72/hour, VashonBePrepared volunteers have delivered over $968,500 of contributed in-kind value. VashonBePrepared gives thanks to the staff and volunteers of local social services agencies for their many hours of extra work logged during the pandemic in support of the community.
This information is compiled from the Situation Reports produced by the EOC Situation Section and provided to The Beachcomber to help islanders stay informed and safe. To receive reports and other emergency information emails, go to VoiceofVashon.org/alertsignup.