The city of Seattle is opening two new permanent vaccination sites and will soon open a mass vaccination site at the event center at Lumen Field, Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday.
The two new websites will open today at the Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle and the Atlantic City Boat Ramp in Rainier Beach. Both websites currently also offer and will continue to offer coronavirus testing.
The city hopes to open the larger vaccination site at the Lumen Field Event Center in mid-March.
All three sites will initially be constrained by vaccine supplies, the city said, but are part of the infrastructure that they will hopefully ramp up when more vaccines become available.
At the West Seattle and Rainier Beach locations, appointments are initially only possible by bank transfer without publicly accessible registration or walk-ins. The two locations will initially distribute around 1,000 cans per week, but will ultimately each be able to distribute 1,000 cans per day, according to the city.
When the Lumen Field Event Center opens, the city expects it to be open two days a week and deliver around 5,000 doses a week. When supplies are less constrained, 150,000 doses can be given per week, the city said.
“The City of Seattle stands ready to significantly expand its vaccination efforts to reach thousands of vulnerable Seattowners,” said Durkan. “This is an important step in significantly increasing our immunization rates in Seattle, but there is much more to be done.”
Vaccines in Washington are still only available to those 65 and over who live in multi-generational households, such as grandparents with grandchildren.
“There is a monopoly on vaccines and the only person who controls it is the federal government,” Durkan said last week. “I know everyone is frustrated because I’m frustrated, but we’re going to get enough vaccinations.”
The city received vaccination doses straight away in January, though it is still administering a fraction of the shots currently being fired. Much larger percentages are provided by health care providers, community health clinics, and state and regional mass vaccination centers.
The city used its first vaccine grants to give shots to residents of adult family houses. It was then expanded to reach Seattle public housing seniors and offer pop-up clinics in partnership with community groups, unions, and other organizations.
The city operated temporary pilot vaccination clinics at its Rainier Beach and West Seattle locations last month.
The Seattle Fire Department will occupy the Rainier Beach and West Seattle locations. The city has agreements with the Swedish hospital to occupy the Lumen Field site and with First & Goal Inc., the company that oversees the stadium and event center.
The city will not pay rent for the use of the Lumen Field site, said Durkan’s office, but First & Goal will reimburse associated costs such as incidental expenses. Parking is free for vaccine recipients, Durkan’s office said.
The city announced last week that it would try to set up vaccination clinics in communities that are particularly vulnerable to the virus, as measured by COVID rates and broader socio-economic measures on susceptibility.
Elderly vaccination rates in West Seattle and Rainier Beach have lagged behind the rest of King County, according to the mayor’s office. Less than half of those over 65 in these areas receive vaccines.