The White House announced Monday morning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had approved the application from the state and the Yakima County Health District.
This joint effort will include a fixed, drive-thru vaccination site at Central Washington State Fair Park as well as mobile vaccination units. Through this partnership, vaccination capacity at this location will expand from approximately 200 vaccines per day to 1,200 vaccines per day between the fixed, drive-thru site and mobile units.
The additional vaccine doses will be provided directly by the federal government and will not be taken from the state or county’s regular allotments. The mass vaccination site and accompanying mobile units will expand upon the current county-wide vaccine distribution efforts to include vaccination services to the rural and agricultural communities, including Selah, Naches, Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Sunnyside, Mabton and Grandview.
“We are so appreciative to FEMA and our other federal partners for working with the state to make significant additional resources available to the people of the Yakima Valley,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This will be a tremendous boost to our vaccine equity efforts and will also reach out directly to Washingtonians who don’t have the means of transportation to a fixed vaccination site.”
Communities in Yakima County have been particularly hard-hit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with disproportionately high infection and hospitalization rates compared to the rest of Washington and the region. Nearly 20% of Yakima residents live below the poverty line. The rural county leads the state’s agricultural and food processing industries, and residents include a significant proportion of essential workers who cannot perform their work from home. People from racial and ethnic minority groups have accounted for approximately 50% of the county’s COVID-19 cases.
The Yakima County program will open March 31. The fixed site will be open from 9 AM to 3 PM on Monday—Wednesday and Friday—Sunday. On Thursdays it will be open from 12 PM to 6 PM. Mobile unit locations and hours will be available and updated on the Yakima Health District website.
Those seeking vaccinations should check their phase eligibility using Phase Finder. Then, register for an appointment on Prep-Mod or call 1-800-525-0127. Proof of eligibility is required, which may be an employer/provider letter, work ID badge or screenshot of Phase Finder approval.