FEMA vaccine clinic opens in Federal Way as COVID-19 cases rise

A partnership between FEMA and local health authorities has allows a new vaccine site to open in South King County.

On Monday, a mobile vaccine clinic opened up inside the Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center that is expected to be able to deliver up to 500 vaccine doses. The clinic can administer shots for children and adults, and the shots can be first, second or even booster shots.

Organizers say that South King County is a trouble-spot in terms of vaccine rate, and ongoing COVID-19 infections.

"We scheduled the clinic to run in the afternoon and evening so that families, especially in South King County can get their kids here -- or come after their jobs," said Dr. Mark Del Beccaro.

According to Del Beccaro, South King County has a larger number of in-person workers that have struggled to get shots. The hope is to run the clinic through Jan. 4 in Federal Way, before moving the site to Auburn.

Lisa Kerr was among the first 100 people who got a shot on Monday, she told FOX 13 that she’d struggled for quite some time to find a place to get a booster shot.

"I would have had to wait closer to the end of the month to get it at one of the standard pharmacies," she said.

While South King County has lagged behind in vaccine rate, boosters are hard everywhere. On Monday, Mayor Jenny Durkan noted that the City of Seattle had one of the higher vaccination rates in the country, yet only 50% of people eligible for a booster had gotten one yet.

RELATED: Health officials: King County should prepare for omicron COVID surge

UW Medicine’s Alex Greniger said that dating back to last week, 70% of COVID-19 cases discovered through their testing sites were linked to the omicron variant.

"Starting this week we’re expecting almost all positives will be omicron, as well as, an increase in overall cases," said Dr. Greninger.

Federal officials stated on Monday that the omicron variant has become the dominant strain throughout the country – CDC numbers show a nearly six-fold increase in infections in the past week alone. With holiday travel set to increase with Christmas and New Year’s Eve around the corner, doctors are getting more concerned about what comes next.

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"Omicron is spreading super-fast," said Dr. Del Beccaro. "Even though you might still get COVID if you’re vaccinated, by all indications your illness will be really mild. The people who are ending up in the hospital, and unfortunately dying, are almost all unvaccinated."

You can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine at the Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center through the Washington DOH website. Walk-ins are allowed, but organizers say that they can’t guarantee shots without an appointment.

Dates and locations

  • December 20 – January 3 at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center, 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S, Federal Way, WA 98003. Park for free in the Performing Arts Center lot and enter through the building’s main entrance.
  • January 5 – January 20 at the Auburn GSA, 2701 C street SW, Auburn, WA 98001.
  • Appointments at both sites available 2 PM to 9 PM, seven days a week (closed on 12/24, 12/25, 12/31, 1/1, 1/4, and 1/17).

Federal Way appointments:

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