Appointments at Kitsap Public Health’s COVID-19 community vaccination clinic fill up fast

BREMERTON Appointment slots for Kitsap County’s first community COVID-19 vaccination clinic were filled Monday morning within minutes with residents eager to receive one of the limited supplies of vaccine.

In a statement on Monday, the Kitsap Public Health District said there was “overwhelming demand” among the elderly and others eligible for the new community vaccination site, which will operate Tuesday through Thursday in the city. former St. Michael’s Medical Center in East Bremerton.

Online registration open at 10 a.m. Less than 45 minutes later, the 1,700 slots were booked, according to Kitsap Public Health.

A total of 2,000 people will receive their vaccine this week. The health district has reserved appointments for people who do not have internet or need additional assistance to ensure equitable access to the vaccine.

Kitsap’s public health officials said more vaccination events will be announced as he continues to receive more doses from Washington state. Although there is no waiting list for future immunization clinics, people can Register online to be informed of upcoming opportunities.

With the number of eligible residents far exceeding the current supply of doses, Kitsap public health officials expected the appointment windows to be quick. A drive-thru vaccination in Sequim earlier this month saw thousands of people lining up for the chance to be vaccinated; hundreds were turned down because there weren’t enough doses.

Lester Lewis was one of those who was able to secure a date. The Bremerton resident, 85, had been trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine for two weeks. He tried calling various pharmacies but found they had no doses.

Lewis doesn’t have a computer, so his daughter helped him enroll in the community clinic. He is now ready to receive his vaccine Thursday morning around 10 a.m.

Registration process fraught with pitfalls

However, for many people looking to secure an appointment, the online registration process has been confusing and frustrating. Some people could not find the correct link to the registration website. Others were unable to log in until all the meeting slots were filled.

The Kitsap Public Health District said in a social media update Monday evening that the registration system was overloaded, causing problems for some people who were unable to register their appointments.

“Due to the extremely high traffic volume, some users had difficulty accessing the registration site, experienced long delays, or had difficulty registering appointments,” the health administrator said. Kitsap Public, Keith Grellner, in an emailed statement. The health district also received an overwhelming number of calls and emails regarding the clinic, which caused disruptions to its phone line.

People can check the status of their appointment by going to and logging into their account or creating an account using the same email address they used to make the appointment. you.

Manette’s Melony Joyce, 69, said she ‘tried to do everything to make sure I had the best chance’ of getting a date on Monday, but was not there reached.

When she first logged in to the registration site, it froze. The second time around, there was a problem with the dates. By the third connection, there were no more slots left. “It was within the first 15 or 10 minutes of opening,” she said.

She says all the uncertainty over vaccine distribution has only added to the pressure on those providing the vaccines. “We’re all calling or emailing all over the place to see where we can get it and that makes it difficult for suppliers when they have it or can provide it,” she said. “It just seems like they’re not making good use of people’s time and energy.”

Several people, including Larry Farner, 82, mistakenly traveled to the St. Michael campus on Monday morning to attempt to register in person. Farner said he and his wife went to the hospital around 9 a.m. to wait for registration to open.

There was a line of other people who also showed up in person, he said. But with registration for the clinic fully online, Farner and the others were turned away. “The instructions are so convoluted,” he said. “We are talking about people who are 90 years old. They have a real problem figuring out what to do.

Grellner says the clinic will evaluate its enrollment process and make improvements going forward. “We appreciate that our community is patient as we build this system,” he said.

“Please be honest, wait and wait your turn”

This week’s clinic will provide vaccines to those currently eligible under the state’s phased immunization plan. This includes people from phase 1B, level 1 all people 65 and over as well as people over 50 and living in multigenerational households and those in phase 1A, which includes health workers, emergency responders and people in long-term care facilities.

The Community Immunization Clinic is operated by Kitsap Public Health, County Emergency Operations Center and St. Michael’s Medical Center, with additional support from volunteers from Kitsap Medical Reserve Corps, County Emergency Medical Services and from the Kitsap County Medical Society.

To get a photo, people must have booked appointments online; walk-in clinic visits will not be accepted. During their appointment, people must bring documents certifying that they are part of the eligible groups, in particular: a copy of the Phase Finder certificate, an identity document with date of birth for people in phase 1B or, for phase 1A, a badge or other document of the status of health worker or emergency responder.

Because people may have to stand outside before receiving their injection, Kitsap Public Health also encourages people to dress in diapers and be prepared for rain. It is also helpful for people to wear a short-sleeved shirt under their diapers so that health workers have easy access to their shoulders for shooting.

Grellner says healthcare providers are aware of many instances where people who are currently ineligible try to line up for their vaccine. Although the long-term goal is to have vaccine doses available to all, Grellner said it was “vitally important” that currently eligible people have access because they are among the most vulnerable.

“Please be honest, wait and take your turn,” he said. “We will go through this process together.”

As vaccine shipments remain unpredictable and inconsistent, Grellner said Kitsap Public Health can only plan future events from week to week. It should take several weeks for everyone in Kitsap who is currently eligible to get the vaccine.

“We understand that it’s frustrating when a limited number of appointments are available in our community and registrations fill up quickly,” he said. “We ask community members to continue to be patient as vaccine stocks continue to grow and more appointments become available. “

Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

  • Those currently eligible for a vaccine include people aged 65 and over, people aged 50 and over who live in multigenerational households, as well as people in phase 1A, which includes health workers, the first workers and people in long-term care facilities. You can find more details on priority groups here.
  • To find out if you are eligible for the vaccine, visit Find your
  • Learn more about vaccinations in Kitsap County on the Kitsap Public Health District website.

How to get a vaccination appointment?

Other appointment information

  • Many health care providers have been inundated with phone calls requesting vaccine appointments. Health officials encourage people to consult their regular health care provider before calling others.
  • With more vaccines on the way, Kitsap public health officials are urging people to be patient while waiting for their appointments. The health district says all eligible groups will be vaccinated, although it may take weeks.

Austen Macalus is the Kitsap Sun Social Services reporter – covering healthcare, homelessness and how programs serve people living in poverty. He can be reached at [email protected] or 360-536-6423.