Leaders ask for operations plan on King County vaccine rollout

SEATTLE — King County councilmember debated legislation Tuesday that would require the County Executive to provide an operations plan for rolling out vaccines to the widespread community.

“How are we going to get it done?” Councilmember Rod Dembowski asked. “Mobile vans, pop-up clinics, mass vaccination sites, and spread that over the days… it’s showtime right now. And we’ve got to have a little bit more detail and a little bit more communication to the public on how this will work.”

Dembowski said he’s asked County Executive Dow Constantine for these details as well as public health officials.

“You haven’t heard back?” KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon asked.

“I just don’t think they’ve put that together yet, to be candid,” he said. “We’re seeing jurisdictions around the country stumble. Let’s not trip and fall.”

The director of Public Health- Seattle & King County, Patty Hayes, told the council there is a lot of work going on to prepare, including the discussion of a possible call center to handle the anticipated influx of calls from people wanting to schedule appointments.

She said the city of Seattle has also been talking to officials about the possibility of using Lumen Field, T-Mobile Park, or UW’s Husky Stadium as a mass vaccination site.

“The sports teams have been awesome,” Hayes said.

Health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said getting doses remains the big problem.

“We don’t know from the feds from week to week how much vaccine will be available,” he said, “and there’s no ability to forecast. So for planning, as you can imagine, planning a vaccination clinic, you need to have some stability.”

County Executive Dow Constantine told KIRO 7 that they will be announcing the location of the first mass vaccination site, which will be somewhere in South King County, soon.

Each site, he said, will cost about $1 million a month to run, with the possibility of up to 10.

“We will be building the capacity of those vaccination sites-- the high volume vaccination sites-- as the need emerges,” he said, “as more doses become more available.”

Constantine also said the county is working with the business group Challenge Seattle, which includes Amazon, on vaccine distribution.

“They are splitting the cost with us of a business coordinator who will reside in public health and will manage all the opportunities with our local businesses large and small to help get the vaccines out as quickly as possible,” he said.

Click here and here for what King County has posted online about its vaccine rollout.