Seattle hits COVID-19 ‘70%’ vaccination milestone

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(Image: City of Seattle)

On March 1st, CHS reported on Seattle’s start on the march to reach the 70% vaccination mark, a level that officials said would allow the area to successfully emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

This week, the city celebrated reaching the milestone after a half year of vaccine availability and a major push since spring.

Officials said Wednesday that Seattle is “the first major American city to fully vaccinate 70% of its residents 12 years-old and older.”

“Seattle is America’s most vaccinated major city, and it would not have been possible without our residents’ commitment to protecting themselves, their loved ones, and our entire community,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

Marked by early frustrations over lack of supply as thousands sought vaccinations from health providers and pharmacies that registered with the state in a catch as catch can patchwork of online registrations and sign-up, city-run clinics including the “megasite” at Lumen Field helped meet Seattle-area demand for the shots while Seattle Fire’s mobile vaccination efforts boosted the city’s ability to reach vulnerable communities.

Recent weeks have been marked by wide open availability and increasing levels of incentives to get vaccinated including giveaways like free beer and the state’s new lottery.

Seattle’s announcement comes as the city prepares to shut down its clinics including the Lumen megasite in favor of a focus on the smaller, more nimble mobile vaccination efforts.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee has set June 30th as the deadline for fully reopening the state and lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The full reopening could come earlier — when the percentage of eligible adults who have initiated vaccination reaches 70%. That number currently stands at just over 51% with counties like King and Jefferson well above 60% while places like northeastern Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille Counties mark less than 30% of their eligible populations vaccinated.

With schools set to begin summer break soon before a planned in-person opening later this year, progress is also being made on vaccinating those under 12 by fall.

Meanwhile, positive cases and hospitalization totals are finally crashing and health officials are finding a disturbing but expected trend in those who are testing positive. 97% of recent COVID-19 cases in King County are among those who have not yet been vaccinated.

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