ELLENSBURG - Kittitas County is making national headlines over its ability to administer all its vaccination doses.
Rich Elliot of Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue told CNN that essential workers and volunteers have teamed up to supply the vaccine to the county. Elliot oversees vaccine distribution for Kittitas County.
CNN reports that there’s a sharp contrast between Kittitas County and the rest of the country. As of Friday, CNN reports that 16.2 million U.S. Citizens (4.5% of the population) have gotten their first dose and 2.8 million are completely vaccinated after receiving their booster shots.
Washington state has distributed more than 335,000 vaccines, which is 48% of the delivered doses given, CNN wrote, citing Washington’s Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard. CNN reports that Kittitas County has used 53% of its vaccine stockpile and has vaccine clinics running through this week to deliver another round of vaccines which consist of 2,000 doses, according to Kittitas Valley Healthcare. All vaccination appointments are taken, and the county estimates that it will have administered 97% of its does by the end of this week.
"The infrastructure that we have with everybody communicating, everybody willing to be flexible and play whatever role's necessary and an understanding of (incident command system) and emergency operation centers gives us the framework to do it," Elliott told CNN.
Elliot cited the county’s response and coordination on wildfires as the reason for its success.
“When you're fighting large fires, you have to act fast and resources can change in a flash, so learning to change plans and stay flexible is part of the job, Elliott said.”
"In fires, we make do, and you build plans around what you have available, and what the priorities are," Elliott said. "Those change almost daily at wildland fires because the risks change, the weather changes, all of those things are changing, and you get more resources, or you get resources taken away from you."
"The same thing is true with this Covid," Elliott said. "We need vaccine in people's arms, preferably as close to the priority order as we can get, but this is only going to go away with vaccination and people being respectful of the public health guidelines. And until we get there, the economy is going to be a wreck and people are going to die," he told CNN.
Kasey Knutson of the Kittitas County Health Department told CNN that the goal is to distribute 215 vaccine does a day at two clinics.
"We are really aware of how eager people are to get their vaccinations and we want to just guarantee folks that we are effectively getting the vaccine out, that we're not stockpiling it and we're not going to waste the vaccine," she said.