They are saying that the second vaccine shot for COVID-19 is rougher than the primary one — and we’re not simply speaking in regards to the uncomfortable side effects.
As a newly double-vaccinated member of the 65-and-older set, I can vouch for the declare that the uncomfortable side effects will be felt extra acutely the second time round: Again in late January, my first Pfizer-BioNTech shot gave me nothing greater than a sore arm. This week’s second shot gave me physique aches the day after, as if I had been shoveling snow for hours. (Which, come to think about it, I used to be … a few days earlier.)
However that’s nothing in comparison with the complications I might have given myself if I had tried to schedule a vaccination this week. I might have been hard-pressed to seek out an appointment, even with the good thing about web sites like WA COVID Vaccine Finder, the Washington State Division of Well being’s Vaccine Locator and the Washington State COVID-19 Vaccination Sign Up System.
Jeffrey Duchin, well being officer for Public Well being – Seattle & King County, acknowledged that it’s been a tricky slog for some of us. “I want we had extra vaccine, and had vaccine for everybody,” he mentioned in the present day throughout a information briefing.
Beforehand: One man’s quest for the COVID-19 vaccine
“Extreme winter storms throughout the nation have led to delays in vaccine shipments, and this has impacted the vaccinations which might be going down right here in Washington state and in King County, each these scheduled this week and into the weekend,” he defined.
A whole bunch of second-shot appointments have needed to be rescheduled, and first-shot appointments are few and much between. Group vaccination websites in Auburn and Kent, which had been set as much as increase COVID-19 immunization charges in South King County, are being shut down this weekend. (Check the Public Health – Seattle & King County website for updates.)
I might see indicators of the vaccine scarcity after I headed to the hospital on Monday for my second shot: The road to get in was almost non-existent, apparently as a result of so many appointments had been already within the means of being rescheduled.
That would begin altering subsequent week. Vaccine retailers are anticipated to get a double dose of provides, as delayed shipments are added to the common allotment.
“Over the subsequent two weeks there will likely be very restricted alternatives for first doses,” Duchin mentioned. “A lot of the vaccine coming in will likely be for administering second doses.”
Duchin mentioned he’s not nervous about being overwhelmed. “We’re not speaking about an enormous quantity of doses to start out with,” he mentioned. “I feel our expertise has been, from working with our suppliers, that they’ve received the capability to manage many extra vaccines than they’ve been capable of, given the restricted provide.”
Regardless of the weather-related delays, Duchin mentioned he’s inspired by the method that’s been made up to now. “Over 400,000 doses have been administered to King County residents, together with about 65,000 within the final week,” he mentioned.
Duchin mentioned about 300,000 individuals, or one out of each six county residents, have gotten no less than one vaccine dose. About 119,000 individuals, or one in 16 county residents, are totally vaccinated.
“We’re making progress additionally in vaccinating older adults, who’re most weak to issues and deaths from COVID-19,” Duchin mentioned. “Fifty-two p.c of these 75 and older have acquired no less than one dose. That’s up from 44% final week.”
Duchin mentioned the comparable determine for the 65-to-74 age group is 46%, up from 40%.
There are nonetheless indicators of racial and ethnic inequities. Within the 65-and-older class, Duchin listed vaccination charges of 50% for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and 45% for whites — however solely 37% for Asians, 37% for Hispanics and 25% for Blacks.
County officers are working with group teams to succeed in underrepresented populations, in addition to home-bound adults. “We now have a complete of 17 cellular groups within the area vaccinating high-risk populations throughout the county, reaching residents at grownup household properties and affordable-housing buildings with massive senior populations,” Duchin mentioned.
With regards to vaccine provide, there’s motive for optimism on the nationwide degree as nicely. This week, the Kaiser Household Basis estimated that vaccination charges could nearly double by the end of March as states work out the kinks of their distribution techniques.
Getting as many individuals as doable vaccinated shortly will likely be key to avoiding a “fourth wave” of lethal COVID-19 infections. Fortunately, this winter’s third wave is quickly winding down in Washington state. “We’re 80% of the way in which again to the place we had been in September, earlier than the autumn and winter surge,” Duchin mentioned.
Well being officers attribute that decline to nearer observance of mask-wearing and social distancing now that the season for vacation gatherings is over. Duchin mentioned there’s additionally “the potential for the virus to be exhausting sure social networks.”
However Duchin additionally cautioned that the rise of recent variants of coronavirus will add to the urgency. “The proportion of instances as a result of extra contagious B.1.1.7 variant continues to develop, and that proportion doubles roughly each 10 days,” he mentioned. “Which means, someday in March, many of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s circulating would be the variant pressure. … It will be reckless to not be extra cautious and more practical in our prevention measures towards a stronger virus.”
For now, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention is advising even totally vaccinated of us to maintain carrying masks when going out, hold staying no less than 6 toes away from individuals exterior your private bubble, and proceed to keep away from massive indoor gatherings. However Anthony Fauci, the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses, mentioned this week in an MSNBC interview that the principles might quickly be modified for people like me.
“If you’re vaccinated, and you might be with somebody who’s vaccinated, the issues that you are able to do are a lot, far more liberal within the sense of pulling again on stringent public well being measures versus once you’re out in society,” he mentioned.
Fauci cited the instance of 1 member of the family assembly up with one other, the place neither lives with the opposite however each have been vaccinated. “Can I truly be with them with no masks? Can I sit down and provides them a hug, and issues like that?” he requested. “The reply could be very seemingly, ‘In fact you may.’”
That’s music to the ears of somebody who’s planning to get along with siblings for the primary time in additional than a 12 months. Somebody like me.
Along with on-line sources like WA COVID Vaccine Finder, the Washington State Division of Well being’s Part Finder, Vaccine Locator and the Washington State COVID-19 Vaccination Sign Up System, there are a few hotlines for COVID-19 assist:
- The Washington State COVID-19 Help hotline is 1-800-525-0127 or 1-888-856-5816 (then press #). It’s out there from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday by means of Friday, and eight a.m. to six p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- The King County COVID-19 Name Heart’s quantity is 206-477-3977, open from eight a.m. to 7 p.m. For language interpretation, say your most well-liked language when linked.