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Announcements bring more hope, and our numbers show vaccines are working

Having trouble keeping track of all the great news lately? Here’s a quick summary: We are getting closer to the end of the pandemic.

A series of announcements this week means we can expect more mask-free living soon when more people get vaccinated.

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children 12-15 years old. It’s a big step forward to protect all children and families in Pierce County!
  • The CDC said fully vaccinated people can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing. More hugs, coming up!
  • Governor Inslee moved Pierce County back to Phase 3 of Road to Recovery guidelines effective Tuesday, May 18 and said the state would fully reopen by June 30—or sooner if 70% of residents get vaccinated. Summer, here we come!

Those are the big headlines. Find even more good news in some of our statistics.

By the numbers.

Pierce County recently reached two important milestones. More than one-third of Pierce residents started vaccination, and more than one-fourth are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccinations given at Joint Base Lewis McChord and Veterans Affairs facilities in Pierce County are not included in the Pierce County vaccination coverage rates and are not shown by region  on our dashboard. JBLM provides the total number of vaccinations given to Pierce County residents, without first or second dose data. We estimate JBLM’s vaccination information and doses administered by the Veteran’s Administration would add approximately 4 to 5 percentage points to the COVID-19 vaccination coverage rate for Pierce County. 

And those vaccinations are having a hugely positive effect, especially on those most vulnerable. Our COVID-19 deaths fell dramatically from 96 in January to 22 in April.

Outbreak cases at long-term care facilities, once numbering more than 1,000, are nearly non-existent.

In other words, early efforts to vaccinate those hit hardest —60 and older make up 90.6% of COVID deaths in Pierce County—has paid off. And more people in other age groups are getting vaccinated every day.

Even bad news is reversing course. Case rates and hospitalization rates—which had been rising steadily since mid-March—appear to have turned a corner. The 14-day case rate dropped from a peak of 379.1 per 100,00 last week, to 364 this week. While we still have a ways to go, we’re hopeful this marks the beginning of a downward trend.

We’re almost there.

 What will keep us on this hopeful path?

As the drop in COVID-19 deaths and cases among our most heavily vaccinated population proves, the COVID vaccines work. They provide an exit ramp out of this pandemic, so we can continue on our recovery journey and return to the things we all enjoy doing.

The more people who get vaccinated and the sooner they do it, the sooner we can put COVID in the rear view mirror.

And it’s easier than ever to get vaccinated. More vaccine is available in more places for more people than ever before.

If you’re not sure how to get your dose, you can:

  • Drop-in without an appointment to get a first or second dose at one of our many vaccine sites listed on tpchd.org/VaxToTheFuture.
  • Get a free ride to vaccination locations from Around the Sound (atstrans.org) or Pierce Transit (Piercetransit.org).
  • Sign up for our vaccine help list at tpchd.org/covid19vaccinehelp.
  • If you have trouble leaving your home, we’ll bring vaccine to you. Contact our call center at (253) 649-1412.
  • Keep an eye out! We’re bringing the vaccine to the community at events—like Rainiers games—and workplaces around Pierce County.

It’s also important to continue to take all the steps possible to prevent the spread of COVID:

 Mt. Rainier with Geese