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COVID-19 vaccine is making a difference in our disease rates, but some areas need to play catch up.

Thousands of Pierce County residents receive a dose of the COVID vaccine each week. Now, all people 16 or older are eligible. And more vaccine events and healthcare providers are getting vaccine to more people. 

We have seen hope, joy and relief in the faces of those receiving the vaccine. Now we’re seeing another hopeful trend: In areas where more people have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, case rates are lower. 

The data come from a new map we launched today. The map shows the percentage of people who have received at least one vaccine dose for each census tract in Pierce County. When compared with our confirmed case rate by census tract map for just the past few weeks, we see several areas where higher vaccine coverage aligns with lower case rates.   cases and vaccine map image

You’ll see many of the dark purple areas on the vaccine map match up with light yellow areas on the case rate map. Noticeable areas doing well with vaccine coverage and improving disease rates include the foothills area of East Pierce County, and the areas surrounding Key Peninsula and the Gig Harbor Area, which have had lower case rates throughout the pandemic.  

This is hopeful progress.  

Maps show where more people should take advantage of COVID-19 vaccine opportunities 

You can also see areas with low vaccination percentage and higher case rates in Carbonado, Buckley, Bonney Lake, Sumner, the area between Tacoma and Lakewood, as well as Spanaway and South Hill. People may worship, work, attend school, socialize and gather in surrounding areas—and we see these effects in recent outbreaks. 

You can explore these areas in more detail. On our data page, you can zoom in on specific areas, cities or towns, search by zip code or address, to compare different parts of the county.  

In time, as more people get vaccinated, we expect to see a related drop in disease rates. Some areas with high vaccination rates still show higher case rates.  People living in areas with fewer cases may also be more likely to want to be vaccinated. More time will give us better information and help us understand more. 

These maps show what we expected to see: high vaccination rates may lead to lower case numbers.  

Follow the example of your vaccinated elders 

We already saw that since January, outbreaks and cases plummeted in long-term care facilities, which have very high vaccination rates. 

We track outbreaks at care facilities on our data page and update them each week. On Jan. 13, we reported 24 facilities with 1,124 cases. This week, we reported 1 facility with 29 cases. Seeing these numbers drop so drastically shows just how effective the vaccine can be. Outbreaks will decrease in more settings, such as businesses, when more people get vaccinated.  

Now, it’s time for all of us to follow the example of our vaccinated elders. Just a week ago, everyone 16 and older became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. At the time of this blog posting, we have 7 vaccine clinic opportunities listed on tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Unlike in January, spots are not filling up in minutes. Now is the time to get vaccinated.  

People, many of them younger, are getting infected with COVID at gatherings, at work, or other situations where safe guidelines aren’t followed—and they are spreading it.  

We’ve seen the results of Pierce County’s rising COVID-19 case rate with the recent move back to Phase 2 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery plan.  

We need people to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance and follow guidance for gatherings. And, we need you to get vaccinated. It will get us closer to community immunity. Disease rates will drop. Fewer people will spread COVID, fewer people have complications from COVID, fewer will wind up in the hospital, and fewer will die. 

Help Pierce County recover from COVID-19

Be a part of the solution. Grab your vaccine appointment today. We make it even easier for you with new fixed locations with evening hours, walk-in options, bringing vaccine to people who can’t easily leave home, and so much more. Visit tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture to see your options, or call (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 7 days a week. We’re here to  help you get vaccinated!  

Do your part and get vaccinated to make it easier for Pierce County to recover from COVID-19.  

In the meantime, keep doing the things that keep you, your family and your neighbors safe.