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More vaccines, options available

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | March 25, 2021 1:05 AM

MOSES LAKE — There are still qualification requirements and appointments necessary, but local people who qualify have more options to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The first vaccines were administered in December: one vaccine from one supplier. The first supplies came to Samaritan Healthcare, and Andrea Carter, Samaritan chief medical officer, said that was, in part, because of the vaccine itself.

“When the Pfizer vaccine first came out, and it had the requirement for temperature, that vaccine was only going to go to hospitals primarily, because they’re the ones that would have facilities to hold that,” Carter said. “By default that meant Samaritan was the keeper of those vaccines and then we became the distributor for the community. And truly, there was a supply issue,” Carter said.

It was a problem periodically in January and February, she added.

Since December, two additional vaccines have become available, and the storage requirements for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have changed. There’s more of all available vaccines.

“The supply chain really has improved,” Carter said.

State officials established a priority system to allocate vaccine supplies.

“Each (eligibility) phase adds more people. And because the supply chain has improved, we’ve been able to move into new phases faster,” Carter said.

Even with more supply, patients still must meet eligibility requirements and schedule an appointment at all locations administering the shots. Different vaccines are available at different clinics and pharmacies, and patients can check those when they make the appointment.

Samaritan is offering vaccinations at its clinics on Pioneer Way and Patton Boulevard. Vaccinations are administered at the Pioneer Way clinic Monday through Friday, Carter said. Patients can use the drive-thru option at the Pioneer Way clinic, and about 200 appointments are available per day.

Vaccinations are available at the Patton Boulevard clinic Thursday and Friday. There is no drive-thru option. About 50 appointments can be scheduled per day.

Appointments can be made by phone, at 509-793-9770 for the Pioneer Way clinic and 509-793-9781 for the Patton clinic.

Stephanie Melcher, marketing and communications manager for Moses Lake Community Health Centers, said MLCHC and Quincy Community Health Centers have offered vaccinations for about two weeks. While supplies have improved, there’s a lot of demand, so availability is still unpredictable, Melcher said.

Appointments can be made by calling the Moses Lake clinic, 509-765-0674, the Quincy Clinic, 509-787-8664, or by visiting the MLCHC website, https://www.mlchc.org/appointment-request.

Confluence Health-Moses Lake Clinic sponsored its first vaccine clinic Friday. Andrew Canning, Confluence director of marketing and communications, said the plan is to sponsor a clinic every Friday.

“We plan to vaccinate an estimated 80 to 100 individuals each week,” Canning said.

While there are more vaccines, there’s a lot of demand, so Confluence patients, like MLCHC patients, are encouraged to check availability when they’re making an appointment. People can call the Moses Lake Clinic, 509-764-6400, or make an appointment at the Confluence website, www.confluencehealth.org.

The Columbia Basin Health Association offers the vaccine at its sites in Othello and Mattawa. Appointments can be made by calling either clinic, 509-488-5256 for Othello, and 509-932-3535 in Mattawa, or by visiting the CBHA website, https://www.cbha.org/.

Mattawa Medical Clinic patients can schedule vaccine appointments by calling the office at 509-932-4499.

Many local pharmacies are offering vaccinations, and most are asking patients to make their appointments online. Those include local Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Safeway pharmacies, as well as the Laketown Pharmacy in Moses Lake.

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