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This county in Washington state hasn’t wasted a single COVID-19 vaccine dose. Here’s how

A rural county in Washington state has received praise for not wasting its COVID-19 dose, and has made headlines across the nation.

A pharmacist prepares a syringe of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle.
A pharmacist prepares a syringe of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

Kittitas County in Washington state has made headlines for not wasting a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Why? Well, it’s always had to deal with crises that require people to work together, according to CNN.

What’s going on?

Kittitas County in Washington state has outpaced many spots across the country in vaccine rates because it has had time to manage disasters in the past, mostly related to wildfires.

  • “We’re a fairly rural county, and we get significant weather events, mostly wildfires,” said Rich Elliott, the deputy fire chief of Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, according to CNN. “Our county has a 25-year history of just sort of everybody — the hospital, the school districts, law enforcement, fire agencies, federal state partners — we just cooperate.”
  • Elliott said essential workers and volunteers have banded together to help distribute the vaccine en masse in the region.
  • The county has given out 53% of its vaccines so far. But there are vaccine clinics running constantly that plan to distribute another 2,000 vaccines. The county will likely have distributed 97% of its vaccines by the end of next week, according to CNN.

Why it matters

The United States is struggling to get the COVID-19 vaccine out to people right now due to supply issues. So it’s quite a sight to see a location manage the vaccine so easily.

So far, 16.2 million Americans — which is about 4.5% of the U.S. population — have received their first dose of the vaccine and about 2.8 million people are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what about Utah?

The state of Utah ranked among the top places in the country to use its COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

  • The Beehive State ranked seventh in the country for percentage of its COVID-19 shots used with 56.9%.