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Everyone must stay flexible to vaccinate Pierce County quickly.

Vaccination is our best path out of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 29,000 people who live or work in Pierce County have already received vaccine and thousands more recently became eligible.

You might wonder when your turn will come and how we at the Health Department are speeding up the process.

As is the case with much of what we do, we are hard at work behind the scenes quietly doing our part to make sure you can vaccinate your family as quickly as possible.

Flexibility is the name of the game.

Our job is to plan with our federal, state and local partners to put great processes in place for this large-scale vaccination effort.

We don’t control how much vaccine Pierce County receives. We often learn a day or two ahead of time what the county’s weekly supply will be. So far, we received less than we expected. We are all working together to be nimble and flexible while the vaccine supply is not enough to keep up with the demand.

Last week was a great example! Our partners at the state decided to make more vaccines available for mass clinics. Large events can be an efficient way to vaccinate many people, so the decision made strategic sense. But it meant our local healthcare providers had fewer doses than they expected and had to postpone some residents’ appointments.

Then, when we announced registration for the events, we experienced problems with registration. Our staff quickly assembled to work with people who signed up to fix these problems.

We plan for the expected and the unexpected. Good planning and coordination with our partners allows everyone involved with the vaccine rollout to remain flexible. And flexibility will help us reach everyone’s goal: To get as many shots in as many arms as possible.

You might need to be flexible, too.

We expect more changes for the better. Vaccine supplies should increase in the coming weeks and months. More manufacturers have said they will apply for Emergency Use Authorizations soon, which should increase the supply even more. Healthcare providers continue to sign up for vaccine administration. And partners at all levels—federal, state and local—will continue to find new and better ways to vaccinate our residents.

All of this means you should keep a close eye on our guidance and listen to your healthcare provider. Sometimes, we might need to change plans  to make the most of changing circumstances. When we do, we’ll tell you what’s new so you can adapt and get vaccine as quickly as possible.

We recently added a list of locations that may have vaccine to our website. We’ll also update that page to let you know about pop-up clinics, mass vaccination sites, and other events as soon as we can. Our staff worked with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, MultiCare Health System and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management to plan two drive-through community vaccination clinics this week.

Great teamwork will return Pierce County to normal more quickly if we all remain flexible and ready for opportunities that come our way. We invite you to join “team flexibility” and ask that you remain patient and understanding with all the folks who are working hard to make sure we get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. We promise we’ll do our best to keep you informed. Subscribe to our blogs at tpchd.org/notify, and check tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture for more information.

In the meantime, mask up, keep your distance, stay home when you’re sick and get tested if you might have COVID-19. 

Phased and Confused-we have answers-a computer drawing of three men.