VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick was determined to find out why vaccinations have been going slowly in the county.
The answer: They’re not getting the supply of vaccines they need.
“We discovered the reason we were not getting vaccine out was not because our providers were doing a bad job or we were not vaccinating appropriately,” Melnick told KOIN 6 News. “It’s that our supply, we didn’t have the vaccine.”
He said his team chose 15 counties in Washington — an equal number of large, medium and small counties — and looked at doses of vaccine each county had received for every 1000 people.
“We weren’t getting vaccine from the state and our vaccine allocation was far below that of other counties,” he said.
The most glaring example was Spokane County.
Spokane County and Clark County are about the same size — 530,000 people to about 500,000. By Week 10 — which was last week — Melnick said “they had received 76,275 doses of vaccine in Spokane County. Okay. Clark County had received 45,950 doses. So we had received 30,000 less doses in the county of the same size.”
In dose-per-thousand population, Spokane got 145.9 doses to Clark’s 94.1 doses — “about 50% more vaccine that we’d received. I mean, that’s a huge difference.”
But why is this happening? Melnick said state officials told him they issue the vaccine according to a variety of metrics, including populations and social vulnerability. But he said he’s not satisfied with that answer.
“What I don’t know is how they actually factor those variables,” he said. “I don’t think the demographics and these issues are that much different in Clark County that we ought to get 30,000 doses less.”
Dr. Melnick said they’re vaccinating as best they can.
“The bottom line is our providers had the capacity to give vaccine. They can do a great job and do it very efficiently.”