Q&A: Community-based vaccination clinic opening

We’re excited to announce that vaccine doses are going into the arms of thousands of our most vulnerable Kitsap residents this week! That good work is continuing.

On Monday, the Kitsap Public Health District rolled out appointments for our first community-based vaccine site. Of course, like all first efforts, not everything went smoothly. The registration site frustrated some users, and the Health District is working on these issues before the next round of registration. Across the country, most registration systems and clinics have struggled with a lot of people wanting to get their shot.

Everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated in a certain phase will get vaccinated–it’s just going to take some time. 

Kitsap community members who were able to register and arrived for the first appointments said the clinic process was quick and seamless. We appreciate the more than 1,000 volunteers who signed up to help!

Meanwhile, here is some of what we’ve learned about standing up a vaccination clinic and what information we can provide to our community on questions we received.

Vaccination stations ready to go!

Big Picture

Question: How long is this vaccination process going to take?

“At the current rate of 700 vaccinations per day it will take over 300 days to have us all vaccinated.”

We hear you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the rate of vaccinations in our area. 

We wish we could expand the number of vaccine doses available globally. The world has never distributed a vaccine at this scale. There simply is not enough vaccine already manufactured to meet how much we need, and that’s true for everywhere and everyone. The manufacturers, the president, and the governor have announced that more vaccine is on the way. Even with more supplies, it will take weeks to vaccinate everyone in the current phase and months to vaccinate most of Kitsap’s residents.

We will only open vaccine clinic registration for the days when we know we have enough supplies. Everyone is putting a great deal of energy into this complicated logistical challenge so we are ready when the additional doses arrive. 

There are other providers in the county receiving and administering vaccine, so please check in with your healthcare provider. You can also sign up for notifications for our next clinic.

We’re on your side–we know you are eager to get vaccinated. We want to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible too.

Question: How do you get to be eligible for a vaccine?

Feels like you have to win the lottery–be lucky, rich, live somewhere else, know someone”

We have heard that the eligibility and signup process might seem unpredictable and unfair to some. Thanks for sharing that concern with us. 

First, the state determines the eligibility phases and who is in which phase. The state also determines how many doses of vaccine to allocate to the registered providers in the county out of every shipment they receive.

Meanwhile, we focus on getting all of the vaccine doses we get into the community as quickly as possible. We follow guidelines the state has given around distributing vaccine doses as fairly and equitably as possible. Everyone in the Kitsap County government has taken the “fair and equitable” guidance to heart, and we appreciate the Kitsap community’s support and patience in this.

We post all the data we have about vaccinations in our community here.

You can see all of the data the state has released about vaccinations here.

People who live in Kitsap County are encouraged to submit their feedback on the state’s Vaccine Allocation Process here.

Question: When is it my turn to be eligible?

“When are grocery people going to be eligible with underlying conditions?”

We know it’s challenging to have to wait, despite being out in public as essential workers. We’re glad you checked in with us on your phase. The WA State Department of Health set the phases, and we follow their recommendations for who gets vaccinated when in our community.  

You can see the phases here on the KPHD website or use the state’s PhaseFinder tool.

Healthcare workers: If you are in phase 1A and have not yet received a vaccination, you are still eligible to receive yours and should email covidvaccine@kitsappublichealth.org with “Phase 1a” in the subject line.

Kitsap Clinic-specific

Question: What’s happening behind the scenes?

The Health Department and Emergency Management have known for many months these vaccines were coming and that preparation was needed to make the appointments.”

We get that you are tired of COVID-19. We are tired of it too! The people behind the scenes who are now rolling out the vaccine and the clinic are the same ones who have been on the frontline of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year. Everyone has put in their best efforts to keep us all as safe as possible. 

Kitsap’s healthcare system is stretched thin right now, so Kitsap Public Health and the Emergency Operations Center worked with partners and volunteers to rapidly launch a high-throughput vaccine clinic. We have quickly adapted what we’ve learned from our community-based testing sites, logistics of getting PPE to facilities, and managing the safety and security of guests to meet the needs of the clinic. Our community is fortunate to have the facilities, team, and capability to stand up such a clinic on little notice.

We are doing everything humanly possible to deliver as much vaccine as soon as it is available to our Kitsap community. We know you are counting on us!

You can sign up for notifications for our next clinic.

Question: How can I help my elders sign up?

I tried to get my Grandma signed up. There’s no way people in their late 70’s would be able to sign up for something like this without help.”

We know how an online registration system is too hard for some to use, and we appreciate hearing that feedback. We would strongly prefer you to use online systems for general inquiries, vaccine questions, and making appointments. We have very few staff who are able to take the kind of information needed for making an appointment, and we would like to make sure those who need more help are able to get it.

People who need help with the state’s Phase Finder tool (for checking eligibility) or have general questions about vaccination can call 1-800-525-0127. Call center staff at this hotline will call you back, so there’s no need to wait on hold. 

If you or someone you know in Kitsap County is eligible to get vaccinated and signing up online isn’t possible, please leave a message with a callback number at 360-728-2219. We want everyone who is eligible to be able to register no matter what.

Para Español: 360-728-2218

Question: How do I know if I got an appointment with the Kitsap clinic?

“What happened to the people who made an appointment and got stuck on the “saving” mode? Did those appointments not go through?”

We hate that some people who tried to register for this first week of the Kitsap clinic couldn’t do so. If you did not receive a confirmation email from noreply@timetap.com, you do not have an appointment, and we’re sorry that’s the case. We want you to be aware of future opportunities as more vaccine arrives, so please sign up here for notifications.

Question: Will I be able to register for the Kitsap clinic next time?

I was able to get into registration system, but when I tried to register my husband for first time registration, it said no page found.”

We can see how this would be frustrating. Our registration system launch didn’t go as smoothly as we wanted. We appreciate that you tried and that you left comments to help us. Our technology partners and we are working together to improve the registration system for future vaccination clinics. 

There will be more opportunities as more vaccine arrives, so please sign up here for notifications for clinic signups.

Question: Do I need to use the Kitsap registration site to schedule for a second shot?

“What’s the process for getting the second shot? (I’m handling all the online apts for older relatives who can’t use the internet) Thanks! :)”

What a kindness to help your relatives get registered! Thanks for asking this question. Typically second appointments are made at the end of the appointment for the first vaccine dose, so you will make the appointment before you leave. No need to schedule online for a second shot. 

In the meantime, please keep wearing your masks (yes, even if you get vaccinated!), stay home if you are sick, and limit gatherings.