PIERCE COUNTY - Frustrating only begins to describe some people’s experiences trying to secure a Covid-19 vaccine. Health officials admit it has been a learning curve for them as well and they’ve been tackling issues on the go.
Kirk’s Pharmacy in Eatonville is also trying to improve and streamline the process.
Owner Kirk Heinz said his pharmacy is vaccinating between 40 and 60 people every day. He’s also going to adult group homes to administer shots, and recently they held a large clinic where 1,000 people received their first dose.
"Knock on wood, we have not wasted one single dose since we started giving the vaccine," said Heinz.
Moving forward, if the pharmacy has another large event, Heinz said they plan to make the process easier on everyone.
"If and when we can do another clinic like this, we’re going to do the same hourly tickets that we’re going to give out because that ticket serves as their second dose 28 days later. They’ll come back on that exact same time zone for their second dose," said Kirk.
"What we’re going to do is once we secure the vaccine, we will put the information out to the community and let them come to the pharmacy, stop by and pick up their ticket two weeks in advance so they don’t have to camp out, they don’t have to wait in line. They can just come and pick up their ticket and just know what time to pick up the vaccine."
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has also made improvements in the last several days, including a new registration system and technology improvements to support high traffic on their page.
"We had over 54,000 people in under an hour hit our registration page, which we were not prepared for and our website was not equipped for and made adjustments to that. So this morning’s (Wednesday) registration we saw over 60,000 people and had no problems," said Stephanie Dunkel, Assistant Division Director for Communicable Disease at the health department.
Registration for the health department’s latest vaccination events in Tacoma and Puyallup filled up in 20 minutes for 3,500 appointments, according to Dunkel, and she said more are being planned as additional vaccines come in.
"We are planning events here over the next couple of weeks, some large events with a couple thousand appointments all the way to smaller models that are more intimate in place in communities that are more vulnerable in our counties," said Dunkel.