The City of Seattle is opening two new fixed vaccination sites and will soon open a mass vaccination site at the event center attached to Lumen Field, Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday.
The two new sites will open today at the Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle and the Atlantic City Boat Ramp in Rainier Beach. Both of those sites currently offer, and will continue to offer, coronavirus testing as well.
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 supply, the city said, but are part of the infrastructure that they hope to ramp up when more vaccine is available.
At the West Seattle and Rainier Beach sites, appointments will initially be available only through referral, with no publicly available registration or walk-ins. The two sites will, at first, be distributing about 1,000 doses each a week, but will ultimately each have the capacity to distribute 1,000 doses a day, the city said.
When the Lumen Field Event Center site opens, the city expects it to be open two days a week and to administer about 5,000 doses a week. When supplies are less constrained, it will be able to administer 150,000 doses a week, the city said.
“The city of Seattle is ready to significantly expand its vaccination efforts to reach thousands more vulnerable Seattleites,” Durkan said. “This is an important step to significantly increase our vaccination rate in Seattle, but there’s so much more to be done.”
Vaccines in Washington are still available only to those ages 65 and older and those over age 50 who live in multi-generational households, like grandparents with grandchildren.
“There’s a monopoly on vaccines and the only people who control it is the federal government,” Durkan said last week. “I know everybody is frustrated, because I’m frustrated, but we will get enough vaccinations.”
The city began receiving vaccine doses, directly, in January, although it still administers only a fraction of the shots currently being given out. Much larger percentages are provided by health care providers, community health clinics and state- and county-run mass vaccination sites.
The city used its first allotments of vaccine to give shots to residents of adult family homes. It then expanded to reach seniors in Seattle public housing and to offer pop-up clinics in partnership with community groups, unions and other organizations.
The city ran temporary, pilot vaccination clinics at the Rainier Beach and West Seattle sites last month.
Seattle Fire Department personnel will staff the Rainier Beach and West Seattle sites, and the city has agreements with Swedish Hospital to staff the Lumen Field site and with First & Goal Inc., the company that oversees the stadium and event center.
The city will pay no rent for use of the Lumen Field site, Durkan’s office said, but will reimburse First & Goal for associated costs, such as utilities. Parking will be free for vaccine recipients, Durkan’s office said.
The city announced last week that it would try to put vaccine clinics in communities that have been particularly vulnerable to the virus, as measured by COVID rates and by broader socio-economic measures of vulnerability.
Vaccination rates of elderly people in West Seattle and Rainier Beach have lagged behind the rest of King County, the mayor’s office said, with fewer than half of people over age 65 in those areas receiving vaccines.