Parts of King County seeing big demand for COVID booster, appointments hard to come by

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee and state health officials announced a partnership with federal agencies that will create more access to vaccines as demand surges in some parts of Washington.

Inslee said FEMA will be sending a vaccine mobile unit, which will be set up at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center. It opens on Dec. 20 and it will operate for about 30 days.   

All vaccine brands (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson&Johnson) will be made available at the mobile sites. 

Parts of King County are experiencing a surge in demand for the COVID booster, and now many providers are back to a waitlist scenario.

Jake Brintzenhofe, like many others, got his primary COVID shots back in the spring. If you got your vaccine in May, you're within the window of eligibility to get a booster, according to health officials. 

"I got my second shot May 17 of this year, and they recommend after six months to get the third shot," Brintzenhofe said. 

He said when he goes to the government’s website that links you to different providers, immediate appointments are hard to come by as of Thursday.

"That’s all the messages I got have said, is that there is nothing available right now," Brintzenhofe said. 

"I know it’s frustrating. All these sites, because of the surge in demand, has gone to using waitlists," said Dr. Mark Del Beccaro with Public Health – Seattle & King County.

RELATED: City of Seattle opens COVID vaccine booster clinics

Concerns over the new Omicron variant and holiday travel plans are also adding to the demand for boosters, especially in King County where more than half a million people are eligible for the booster.

Del Beccaro said the county is trying to increase the number of available sites if the demand has reached a threshold that would require mass vaccination sites like we had early on during the vaccine rollout.

Those sites also mean finding the staffing, which is a challenge.

When it comes to booster shots, the state’s latest allocation from the federal government was a lot less compared to early November.

Allocation on November 4 was more than 109,000 doses on Nov. 30 it was 30,000 doses. 

The Washington Department of Health said they requested an increase in allotments.

In the meantime, if you live in an area with high demand, health officials are asking for patience. 

"Depending upon where you are in the county, it could take you one week or this could last well into toward the end of January," Del Beccaro said.

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