Inslee visits Spokane Arena ahead of vaccine eligibility increase

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee took a tour of Spokane’s mass vaccination site on Friday, the first time since it opened in January. The governor got a look at what the arena can do vaccine-wise and what it’s capable of as more people will soon become eligible for a shot.

The Spokane Arena can increase its vaccine capacity from 1,000 to over 2,400 shots a day. All they need is more doses and people to give them to.

“What we need are more people to come in to get the vaccine,” said Gov. Inslee. “I’m concerned about this, frankly.”

According to Inslee, more than 300,000 Washingtonians over 65-years-old haven’t had a shot. This is on the heels of another 1.5 million people becoming eligible on April 15th.

Spokane County has hundreds of appointments available between healthcare providers and the arena. Reporters asked the governor why not open up eligibility for people 16 and over sooner.

“The data told us it was most important to get the most vulnerable vaccinated first and so we are finishing the last few days now in giving some of the most vulnerable people priority to get vaccinated,” he explained. “I think this was a good decision, but we now have had several months of letting that priority group get their vaccines and now we can do the last million people.”

PHOTOS: Gov. Inslee tours Spokane Arena vaccine site

To help get more people vaccinated, the arena will soon be open until 8 p.m. twice a week. Gov. Inslee also visited Second Harvest, and urged the employees and volunteers to encourage people who come in to go and get a COVID-19 vaccine.

While getting shots in arms is an issue, so is supply. As more people become eligible, getting an appointment might be hard to come by.

“So yes, we will not have, and nobody in the United States will have enough doses,” Inslee said. “We don’t have it today and we certainly won’t have it next week, so there will be frustration, which is apart of life when you don’t have enough doses, right?”

According to the Washington Department of Health, the state will get 362,130 doses starting the week of April 12th.

313,270 will go to places like hospitals, pharmacies, healthcare providers and more. 44,490 will go to mass vaccination clinics and surplus. A little more than 4,000 heads to tribal and Urban Indian health centers.

While supply is an issue, so is Spokane case count. The county is on the verge of going back a phase. Counties now only have to meet two of the three metrics. Spokane County is meeting all three. However, the county’s case count per 100,000 people is on the border of not meeting the metric. Again,, only two need to be met to stay in Phase 3.

“Spokane is looking pretty good right now, but this is not a final thing,” Inslee said. “We have got to look at the final numbers to make a decision on Monday, and it’ll be driven by the numbers. The numbers will tell the tale.”

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