Better COVID-19 vaccine
appointment system is in the works
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — The state’s online PhaseFinder tool might get a reboot soon to run smoother and maybe also smarter.
Today’s website is a questionnaire to tell you if you are eligible for a vaccine. The next iteration might be smart enough to be able to help you secure an appointment.
A state Department of Health (DOH) task force is working with Microsoft and other private partners to help streamline the system, state Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said last week.
“One of the things we are very interested in doing is to streamline the processes for both (Washington PhaseFinder) and what’s happening on the appointment side,” Dr. Shah said during a media briefing Thursday. “We have been working hand-in-hand with Microsoft with some of their appointment system technical experts to help us (get to) both better communications, but also integrating and streamlining those technical issues which right now are making it hard for everyone.”
Shah noted, “we’re not there yet.”
Big stores now have vaccines
Area Costco pharmacies as well as Safeway, Albertsons and Haggen now have vaccines.
An Albertsons company spokesman confirmed that nearly all Safeway, Albertsons and Haggen stores in the Snohomish, Clearview, Monroe and Everett areas will carry COVID-19 vaccines at their pharmacies by appointment. For these stores, new appointment slots open every Sunday. People eligible for a vaccine can seek an appointment by visiting https://MHealthappointments.com/covidappt
The vaccines allocated to the stores by the federal government is separate, and not reducing, the federal shipments being sent for public health vaccination sites, state DOH officials said.
Short supply remains the biggest hurdle. One positive is that the state will be told of upcoming vaccine shipments up to three weeks in advance.
As of Monday, Feb. 8, among county residents, 73,859 first doses have gone in arms, and 21,368 people have been fully vaccinated with two doses.
There’s still a long way to go on vaccinating who’s eligible for a vaccine today. There are 150,000 county residents eligible in Phase 1B1, the phase of everyone age 65 and older plus individuals age 50-plus who live in distinct multi-generational households.
Challenges persist to reach people with the least experience working with technology or are housebound, Spitters noted. (Community Transit and Everett Transit are providing free trips to vaccination appointments to walk-in sites for paratransit customers.)
In Snohomish County, providers authorized to give the vaccine predominantly are carrying the Moderna vaccine.
The Snohomish Health District has a hotline: 425-339-5278. Its vaccine website is www.snohd.org/covidvaccine
Check out our online publications!