Vaccination rates rise in King County, 40% of seniors 75 plus

KING COUNTY, Wash. — On Friday Public Health - Seattle & King County said the COVID-19 vaccination rates have increased considerably since last week.

Last week 9% of seniors 75 and older were vaccinated, now it is 40%, according to county health officials.

Public Health credits the mass vaccination sites in South King County and other pop-up clinics targeting those most in need.

They are desperate to increase vaccination rates before the U.K. variant takes hold. It is known to be much more transmissible. There is concern that cases are doubling and could grow to overwhelm hospitals.

“There is another outbreak brewing beneath the surface, a virus that is able to move much more quickly, able to cause many more cases and many more deaths,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin. “I want to remind everyone we should expect the variant strain to become widespread here and it will make our outbreak harder for us to control.”

At the UW Medicine Virology Lab, doctors are working to identify COVID variants. “We try to do 200 samples a week at the moment purely for the purpose of genomic surveillance,” said Pavitra Roychoudhury, Ph.D., UW Medicine. “What variants are there, what they might be doing, what do they mean for vaccines and therapies?”

While they’re looking for the U.K. variant and the South African strain, they are also looking for other variations. “If we keep looking for a specific mutation we might miss any other mutations of concern that could arise,” explained Dr. Roychoudry.

The UW Medicine Virology Lab and Brotman Baty Institute/Seattle Flu Study are doing 98% of the genome sequencing in the state.