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King County Council will provide funding to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations

The King County Council announced today that it will provide $7 million in funding to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The funds will be used to create two high-volume community vaccination sites and staff mobile teams to serve people at the highest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.

COVID-19 has caused hardships for so many of us in King County since the outbreak first started here in 2020. People have been hard hit – isolated from loved ones, separated from work and school, put at risk of illness and economic crisis. The light at the end of the tunnel has finally started to appear in the form of very effective vaccines that are now beginning to be available,” said King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci.

Populations considered to be at the highest risk of severe illness and death were classified by the state Department of Health (DOH) as group “B1.”

DOH’s B1 phase designation includes people 70-years-old or older; those 50 and over who live in multigenerational households; and high-risk critical workers 50-years-old or older such as teachers, grocery store workers, and transit operators. Eventually this county system will be open to all members of the public as more vaccine supplies become available.

Friday, Gov. Inslee was among a group of eight Democratic governors calling on the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release COVID-19 vaccine doses that are currently being held back to help ensure second doses are ready for those who have received their first.

At the same time, President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced that the administration plans to release nearly all of the available vaccine doses to accelerate distribution.

Amid the period of transition at the federal level, Balducci underscored the importance of cooperation at the regional level.

As we start to turn the corner toward brighter days, we have much going for us. We have a Public Health Department that is among the very best. We have a regional government that has worked well together to support the effort and investment needed to combat the virus in our communities. Although we are nominally nonpartisan, the King County Council includes Democrats and Republicans and I am proud to say that we have been fully united in the effort to combat the virus and support the people of King County. I commend and support Executive Constantine in committing to this aggressive strategy.”

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