COVID-19 vaccine shortages cancels clinics, frustrates many

While some Washington state counties appear to have enough vaccines to continue drive-through clinics, others are having to close.   

Pierce County healthy officials recently opened online registration for vaccinations scheduled this week with a goal to meet 35,000 people. Available slots were filled within about an hour.

"We have neighbors who have gone for a month," said Judy Lantz from Puyallup. "Some of them are getting up at 4 a.m."

Lantz said signing up for a vaccine was a chore in itself. Her husband Darrell echoed her frustration, but both were vaccinated with their first doses last month.  

"Now we’re trying to get our second appointment," said Darrell Lantz.

It’s been an effort filled with frustration and confusion for many. The Lantz's recall getting the polio vaccine as a less complicated procedure.   

"It’s like building a house," said Darrell. "They obviously didn’t put all the wheels together to do this vaccine."

The state says there is a shortage of vaccines and that Washington state got less than a third of what it requested from the federal government. As a result, several mass vaccination clinics were shut down in the North Sound this week.

"Unfortunately, we don’t have the supply to keep those open," said Jason Biermann from Snohomish County Emergency Management.

Snohomish County officials said it can handle vaccinating 50,000 a week, but they expect barely 15,000 doses this week.

"It is a fraction of what we needed to be to satisfy the demand," said Dr. Chris Spitters with Snohomish Health District.

State health officials are urging patience while reminding those heading for a second shot to bring medical records as both shots need to be from the same manufacturer. Officials also said it should be okay if patients have to wait as long as six weeks in between doses.

The Lantz family said they are on a path to complete vaccination, but worry the help from their in-laws is a privilege other families might not also have.

"We’re a little bit familiar with computers but there are some people who aren’t," said Judy, "What are they going to do?"