vaccination

Nursing students from Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College helped out at the March 6 pilot clinic event. (Courtesy photo)

Appointments needed; first shots in arms this Saturday; ‘starting slow’

BELLINGHAM — After conducting a successful pilot effort on Saturday, March 6, the Community Vaccination Center at Bellingham Technical College opens to the public this week and will be accepting appointments beginning Wednesday morning, March 10.

“As this site ramps up, we will be able to greatly expand vaccine access for eligible people in Whatcom County,” said Shanon Hardie, chief operating officer of Unity Care NW and co-chair of the Community Vaccination Center Steering Committee. “We feel honored to help our community and we’re eager to start getting shots in arms.”

The first public clinic will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, March 13, at Bellingham Technical College.

Anyone who’s in an eligible phase, currently 1A and 1B Tier 1, can make an appointment. Eligibility can be determined at www.FindYourPhaseWA.com.

Vaccination is by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled at prepmod.doh.wa.gov beginning on Wednesday, March 10.

Those who do not have internet access or an email address, or who need language interpretation services, can call 360-778-6075 for assistance scheduling an appointment. To avoid possible long wait times, scheduling appointments online is recommended.

The clinic is located at Bellingham Technical College, 3028 Lindbergh Ave. on the northwest side of Bellingham.

Public transportation to Bellingham Technical College is available. Those driving to the site can follow signage to available parking.

Whatcom County’s first large-scale community vaccination site is a collaborative effort between all of these partners: Bellingham Technical College, Unity Care NW, Whatcom County Health Department, Whatcom Unified Command, Family Care Network, PeaceHealth, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Hoagland Pharmacy and Whatcom Community College.

The Community Vaccination Center will be staffed in part by BTC and WCC nursing students.

At the March 6 pilot, 240 people in Phase 1A and Phase 1B Tier 1 were vaccinated, including home health agency staff and older adults who were reached through senior-serving agencies. The shots were administered by a diverse team of volunteers, healthcare professionals and students from the BTC and WCC nursing programs. Nursing students worked alongside nurses and healthcare staff from the Whatcom County Health Department, Unity Care NW, Family Care Network and Hoagland Pharmacy.

“It’s great to see so many great organizations in our community come together,” said Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department. “Supply is still low, and we’ll have to start slow. But each vaccinated person gets us one step closer to recovery.”

For more information about the Community Vaccination Center, visit whatcomcounty.us/covidvaccine and click on the Community Vaccination Center icon.