Covid-19 vaccinations getting closer to Point Roberts

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SuperTrack Urgent Care, operators of the Point Roberts Clinic, will most likely be placing its first order for Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, according to Dr. Sean Bozorgzadeh. The physician spoke at the Point Roberts hospital district’s regular commissioners’ monthly meeting on Wednesday night.

SuperTrack personnel have been working with the hospital district and the fire department to set up a vaccination program and received certification to administer vaccinations last week from the state. The three organizations are planning a drive-through vaccination site at the Benson Road firehall at a yet-unscheduled day or time.

Fire chief Christopher Carleton posted an online survey that had received 510 responses as of yesterday. Speaking to fire commissioners at their monthly meeting yesterday, Carleton told them 169 people over 65 expressed interest as did another 170 people aged 50-64. “We would most likely be putting in an order on Friday,” he said, adding there was no guarantee on receiving any. “It all depends on how much the state gets,” but assured the commissioners that they were “keeping close tabs on it and when we get it, we’ll start jabbing arms.”

The organizers will be creating a form that people will need to fill out prior to being vaccinated; how that will be distributed has not yet been determined. The vaccination will be free for all those who have medical insurance but a non-mandatory fee of $15 will be asked of those who can afford to pay, said Bozorgzadeh. The fee will cover distribution costs that SuperTrack is unable to recover. The goal is to get everyone on the Point who wants a vaccination to get one without cost being an obstacle, Bozorgzadeh said.

Carleton has done preliminary research on vaccination sites and believes a drive-through is the most efficient and comfortable for recipients. In an email to the All Point Bulletin, Carleton said even if people need to fill the forms out in their cars, “It is still efficient as the Arlington airport site runs roughly 180 people through per hour with the form being filled out on site in most cases. I have personally visited this operation, along with PeaceHealth Saint Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham and a nursing facility in Lynnwood. This has brought a broad spectrum of insight.”

Both Bozorgzadeh and Carleton expressed hope that the clinic would receive the Moderna vaccine as opposed to the Pfizer one. The Pfizer vaccine requires intensively cold refrigeration and involves more extensive preparation than Moderna. Regardless of which vaccine the clinic receives, all doses will be used. “If we get through the specified group, we’ll open it up to others,” Bozorgzadeh said.

Carleton made a similar comment at the fire district’s meeting earlier in the day. Although the state is currently inoculating people in the 1a and 1b Tier 1 groups, Carleton feels the Point could run through the phases quicker than the state schedule. “This is a unique situation because we’re a closed community,” he said, adding that it will take weeks and won't happen quickly.

In other Covid-19 news, the state will announce tomorrow that Whatcom County will move into Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start Plan on Monday, February 15. The county is part of the North Region which includes Skagit, Island and San Juan counties. Under Phase 2, restaurants will be able to offer inside dining at 25 percent occupancy and gyms will be able to re-open. Up to five people from two families will be able to enjoy indoor, at-home activities.

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