Governor blames lack of first COVID-19 vaccine doses on hospital, providers

VIDEO: State says it only has enough vaccines to handle people who need second dose

Most appointments for first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being delayed this week. The state says it has only enough vaccine in most places to handle people who need to get their second dose.

Gov. Jay Inslee is blaming this predicament on hospitals.

It is a happy President’s Day at this adult family care home in Magnolia, where the residents are receiving their second dose of the vaccine.

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“We were looking forward to it, in spite of the inclement weather,” said Theresa DeLaPaz Padilla, who manages the home. “So we got it.”

That is a good thing, because few first doses are being given out this week.

KIRO 7 asked Gov. Inslee how the state got into this situation.

“Well, we’re in this fix because there are 1.7 million people who are eligible for the vaccine,” stated Inslee. “And we’re getting maybe 15,000 or 20,000 doses a week.”

At a news conference, Governor Jay Inslee allowed his irritation to show, first blaming the limited supply of vaccines coming from the federal government.

Then, he took a swipe at local hospitals and other providers.

“Because our supply has not been predictable,” Inslee said, “people have sometimes used what should have been second doses and they used them for first doses when they should have used them for second doses.”

State officials announced the shortage of first doses last week, saying providers had asked for a whopping 170,000 second doses, nearly double the state’s weekly allotment of a little more than 92,000 second doses.

Hospitals counter that they are simply trying to follow the governor’s edict that they use 95% of their vaccines every week.

“Yes,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association. “It has proven to be problematic.”

Still the governor stood firm, saying providers should not be giving out so many first doses that they don’t have enough second doses to go around.

“Because when they do that, it disrupts the supply chain the way it has the last week or so,” he said.

The governor says the Biden administration is planning to dramatically increase the vaccine supply, which should alleviate the strain that just about everyone involved in this process has been feeling.