Swedish forced to pause vaccine clinic at Seattle University

SEATTLE — Swedish stated it will have to pause operations at its Seattle University community vaccine clinic on Wednesday. The hospital reported its vaccine allocation was cut.

Swedish will still offer second doses to everyone who was already vaccinated.

Swedish told KIRO 7:

“Swedish is grateful to our caregivers and the community for helping make our clinic at Seattle University such a successful vaccination site in Washington. With your support, we have vaccinated 15,262 frontline caregivers and community members (as of end of clinic day Jan. 23), and have been able to vaccinate up to 2,500 people a day. We are incredibly proud of this effort. Due to a change in the state’s allocation strategy toward establishing mass vaccination clinics in other areas, our community clinic at Seattle U is currently on operational pause, awaiting more vaccine supply. This pause does not affect our dose 2 clinics; we will provide second doses for individuals who have already received their first dose at our community clinic. We look forward to restarting our operations when we receive enough vaccine to continue serving the community. We are all in this together, and we are grateful for the public and private partnerships that make it possible for Swedish to be a part of this vaccination effort.”

This week, the Department of Health, with the help of the National Guard, is opening mass vaccination sites. Those will be located in Kennewick, Ridgefield, Spokane and Wenatchee.

KIRO 7 asked Cassie Sauer, the president of the Washington State Hospital Association, about the closure of the Swedish-Seattle U community vaccination clinic.

“It’s a fantastic clinic, and so it’s too bad for it to be canceled. I think it’s really stressing people out locally who were on the waiting list for that clinic and hoping they could get in,” said Sauer. She said she’d like to see other providers added as more vaccine becomes available and to keep allocating to the providers who have proved they can effectively administer the vaccine.

KIRO 7 asked the Department of Health and the governor’s office why the allocation was cut to the Swedish-Seattle U clinic.

The Washington Department of Health told KIRO 7:

“We are grateful for our partnership with Swedish Seattle U Clinic and many other health care providers who are working hard to get vaccines administered. The U Clinic has been allocated 1,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week - more than any other hospital in the state, with the exception of those partnering with local health departments or the state for mass vaccination sites opening this week.

“This week we are prioritizing first-dose vaccines for some new providers in order to continue building the long-term infrastructure and support broader access to vaccines across the state. This includes more pharmacy locations, community clinics and mass vaccinations sites.

“Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of federal distributions to our state. And there simply is not enough vaccine to meet demand. We are hopeful the pace of distributions to our state will continue to increase.

“Currently, King County is focusing on south King County where there are more COVID-19 cases. PHSKC is working with UW Valley Medical Center and MultiCare Auburn Medical Center to establish more vaccination sites.”

The governor’s office wrote:

“I will just add from the governor’s office, that decisions were made to expand the acceleration of vaccination. We can’t abide by doses sitting on shelves, it is necessary to expand the places that can do it and get these doses into human arms as soon as possible. The mass vaccination sites are a way to expand and accelerate the rate of vaccination.

“We are grateful for all the providers who are doing this work and hopefully we can get more doses to have every place have as many doses as they need to meet the demand.”