After receiving an additional 500 COVID-19 vaccine doses late last week, St. Elizabeth Hospital hopes to administer that many people at a drive-through and walk-in event Sunday.
Vaccines will be administered from 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. March 7 at 1455 Battersby Ave, organized by the hospital, the City of Enumclaw and the Enumclaw Fire Department. Appointments are required and can be set up by leaving a message with your name and phone number at the Enumclaw Senior Center at 360-825-4741. (See flyer below for more details.)
Jobyna Nickum, manager of the Senior Center, said they got involved because so many of the older people eligible for vaccines right now don’t have the internet access needed to schedule them. So Nickum and the rest of the Senior Center decided to take appointments by phone.
“This is very comfortable and reassuring,” Nickum said. “They hear a live voice.”
Nickum said they learned about the available vaccines Friday afternoon. By Monday morning, they’d started taking appointments, and those calls have been coming in “nonstop” since then, she said.
Their voicemail box started filling up so quickly that the City’s IT department had to increase their mailbox size. Six people, four of them volunteers, take shifts responding to voicemails and setting up appointments.
By Tuesday morning, they’d already made 200 appointments, and Nickum expects all 500 will fill up. For her, it’s been a moment of relief.
“I feel so much relief that we are able to offer this vaccine clinic to our older adults,” Nickum said. “We have heard nothing for the last month or two but people calling in and going ‘I can’t get a vaccine. I can’t get an appointment. Can you help me?’ … We have been on the phone for hours trying to call these other clinics, and they can’t get them.”
Now, they get to say, “What time do you want? What can we do to help you?”
She says people should keep calling in because “if we fill up, we will work to get more.” The floodgates aren’t quite open yet, Nickum said, but she’s encouraged by the steady increase in vaccine availability across the state.
Anyone eligible for the vaccine across the plateau, from Buckley to Black Diamond and the unincorporated areas, is welcome to call, Nickum said.
AUBURN, KENT VACCINATION SITES
Meanwhile, Enumclaw’s closest regular COVID-19 vaccination sites – Kent and Auburn – are now open to any south King County residents over 65.
The immediate expansion in vaccine eligibility is due to the encouraging volume of vaccine doses the county has recently received from the state, the King County Department of Public Health said in a March 1 press release.
The Kent and Auburn sites continue to offer vaccines to caregivers or home care workers of any age who are taking care of someone age 50 or older who can’t live independently. The vaccine is also available to those age 50 or older who can’t live independently and who receive care, and those who are living with and caring for family members, not including parents living with their children. For example, a grandparent taking care of a grandchild, or an adult caring for a niece or nephew would be eligible.
Those signing up at the Kent or Auburn sites must be south King County residents. To sign up, visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/distribution.aspx.
UPDATE ON PERMANENT ENUMCLAW VACCINATION SITE
Enumclaw is still trying to land a long-term vaccination site of its own.
The City, along with St. Elizabeth Hospital and the Enumclaw Fire Department, asked the King County public health department on Feb. 3 for a mass vaccination site and team.
Mayor Jan Molinaro said in an email Monday that he spoke with the county last week and is still waiting for confirmation on a vaccine site. While demand is high throughout the state, Molinaro said he hopes Enumclaw is selected for a vaccination site due to the large senior population here and the City’s ability to act as a hub for the plateau.
Enumclaw’s COVID-19 testing site, located right across from city hall at 1512 Wells St., is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
People looking to get tested can walk or drive up to the testing site, but they are encouraged to register for a time slot by heading to www.solvhealth.com/book-online/pYWRj0.
Test results are returned in 24 to 48 hours.
The WA State COVID-19 Assistance hotline can be reached at 1-800-525-0127 or 1-888-856-5816 (press #), 6am – 10pm Monday, 6am – 6pm (Tuesday – Sunday).