With the pool of residents still eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine shrinking, the city of Seattle is shutting down all but one of its fixed mass-vaccination sites, including at the Lumen Field Event Center, next month.
The city says because more than 76% of Seattle residents eligible to be vaccinated have received at least one shot and 60% are fully vaccinated, the city-run sites at Lumen Field, Rainier Beach, West Seattle and North Seattle College will close in June, the city announced Wednesday.
The Seattle Fire Department will continue operating its testing and vaccination site in Sodo (3820 Sixth Ave. S.), south of Lumen Field, through summer.
“Now that the vast majority of Seattleites have begun the vaccination process, we are able to safely reopen and recover as a city — without the need for our fixed sites,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a prepared statement.
As vaccines began to win emergency approval from the federal government late last year, demand was immense, with long waits for appointments in Seattle and changing eligibility requirements. “Vaccine chasers” would show up later in the day at vaccine sites to try to score unused doses. But supply began to outstrip demand in April.
The city’s large vaccination site opened at the Lumen Field Event Center more than two months ago. Since March 13, 97,061 vaccinations have been administered there. The site will close June 12.
The city’s North Seattle College site will close June 4, the West Seattle location will close June 9 and Rainier Beach on June 23. More than 56,000 doses have been provided at Rainier Beach and 50,549 at West Seattle, and 26,696 doses have been administered by mobile units.
The city says it will continue to offer mobile vaccinations and spin up vaccination clinics as needed.
Seattle is outpacing the state with coronavirus vaccinations. The state Department of Health hasn’t yet listed 12- to 15-year-olds on its data dashboard and is showing the vaccination rate for everyone 16 and older, which comes in at over 61% having at least one shot and more than 41% fully vaccinated.
King County’s vaccination rates mirror Seattle’s, with 72% of people 12 and older with at least one dose and 59% of that group being fully vaccinated.
The 76% of at least partially vaccinated Seattleites translates to more than 230,000 doses put into arms.
Across the state, more than 6.7 million vaccines doses have been administered.
The state is closing two of its mass vaccinations sites east of the Cascades on Friday.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee eased capacity requirements for spectator events Wednesday. Occupancy for outdoor venues was increased from 25% to 50%, but the cap of 9,000 total spectators will remain in place, at events such as Mariners games. The requirement for a separate entrance and exit for vaccinated spectators also was removed.