Grays Harbor Public Health has announced that their COVID-19 vaccination clinics will end with a final pediatric clinic Feb. 26, and the Resource Center COVID-19 hotline will have its last staffed day Feb. 25.
In a release, they say that despite efforts to secure funding to continue these services locally, they will end before the end of February.
This announcement comes following Public Health announced a change in COVID-19 contact tracing and case investigation from investigating every reported case to focusing on congregate settings and high-risk populations.
Vaccination clinics will continue to be held Wednesdays and Fridays for everyone age 12 and older through the end of February, and pediatric clinics for kids age 5-11 will continue until the final clinic Feb. 26.
To make an appointment, go to healthygh.org/covid-vaccine.
Public Health Vaccine Branch Director Jerry Rajcich says that staff have been providing as many vaccines as possible, and recently days have increased mobile clinics and other outreach programs “to make the most of the time the team has left”.
The health department says that so far, “the clinic has delivered 5,142 doses in just under a year – and that’s not including the 19,249 doses Public Health delivered at the mass vaccination site at the Port of Grays Harbor between January and March 2021.”
Starting this month, those seeking COVID-19 vaccinations will need to contact the county’s pharmacies, clinics and other providers.
A list of these providers can be found by typing your zip code into the vaccine search at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.
During peak times at the Resource Center, officials say that they would field more than 1,000 calls in a single day.
“All told, during its two years so far, the Resource Center has fielded just shy of 27,000 calls – add together the inbound calls and the thousands of returned outbound calls, more than 30,000 calls were handled by Resource Center staff.”
After Feb. 25, the phone number – 360-964-1850 – will direct callers to the state COVID-19 hotline and elsewhere for information.
The end of these services does mean that more staff cuts are coming at Grays Harbor Public Health.
“Our vaccine team has done an amazing job of getting shots in arms, not just here at our clinic in the Pearsall Building, but at schools, congregate living facilities, for the homebound, and even on ships docked at the Port of Grays Harbor,” said Grays Harbor Public Health Director Mike McNickle. “Resource Center staff have taken calls from all types of people, some angry, some frightened, and has directed each one to what they needed in a professional, courteous manner.”
Public Health Director Mike McNickle While the current trend seems to show a slowing in this latest wave of COVID-19 – nearly 4,000 cases have been reported in the last month in Grays Harbor County – McNickle urges continued vigilance as case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths remain high.
“This is definitely not the time to let your guard down,” said McNickle. “If you come down with symptoms, get tested. Wear a well-fitted mask in public. Maintain your social distancing. And get vaccinated and boosted. These remain your best defense against COVID-19.”