KIRKLAND, Wash. - On Monday morning, dozens of patients and staff at the Life Care Center of Kirkland will be receiving the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
"Since it first happened to now it seems like an eternity," said Nancy Butner, who managed the March 2020 Covid-19 outbreak at the facility last year.
Life Care Center was the nation's first epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 40 residents died in the first month alone.
Butner is now the Northwest Division Vice President of Life Care Centers of America, and will also receive her second shot on Monday.
While the Life Care Center in Kirkland is on pace with vaccination, Butner said two of her facilities are just getting started with administering their first doses to patients and staff.
"My fears about what Covid does in nursing homes is far greater than me getting the vaccine or anybody else getting the vaccine," said Butner. "It is very frustrating to have a slow vaccine rollout. It is critical in getting vaccinations to people to make a difference in the pandemic."
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has come under scrutiny for the lagging vaccine rollout. Since the end of December, the state has received about 625,000 of the vaccines. So far, state data indicates only about 230,000 doses have been administered.
Assistant DOH Secretary Lauren Jenks said their data comes from healthcare providers. Right now, she said there is a gap from large hospital systems that aren’t vaccinating patients with electronic medical records on file, but their own healthcare employees who don’t have medical records with the hospital.
According to Jenks, hospitals are writing down paper records and entering data into the system by hand.
"So we end up with a lag in the numbers from the biggest hospitals, vaccinating the most number of their employees," said Jenks. "So where are those other vaccines? Lots of them are in people, we just haven’t had that reported back to us yet."
The state is currently still in Phase 1 Tier A, which mainly focuses on high-risk groups in healthcare settings. According to the state’s timeline, it should be vaccinating individuals who are eligible in Phase 1 B1 sometime in January, which include people who are 70 years or older and people who are 50 years or older in multigenerational households.
Monday afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee will announce a public-private partnership for vaccine distribution. He'll be joined by Microsoft President Brad Smith and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
The announcement is at 3:30 p.m. You can watch it live here.