Kittitas County announces vaccine eligibility expansion

Jackie Tran, Staff Reporter

The Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) shared updated information on who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kasey Knutson, a Public Information officer for KCPHD, said Kittitas County is currently vaccinating prioritized individuals such as those 60 years old or older, people who work in food or construction and others listed in the phase 1B guidelines. The team announced the vaccine will officially be open to everyone 16 years or older on April 15.  

Those looking to receive the vaccine in Kittitas County will be able to locate a clinic near them using the Washington State Department of Health’s Vaccine Locator available on their website.  

In Ellensburg, some local options are the clinic at the Ellensburg fairgrounds, Safeway and Rite Aid, among others. Once a clinic has been located, residents can follow links to sign up for an appointment.  

Noted side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are soreness, redness or swelling at the sight of injection, as well as fever, fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea and headaches. If the side effects get in the way of regular activities or do not disappear within 1-2 days, it is recommended to people they seek medical advice.  

The Washington State Department of Health said the coronavirus vaccine does not cause the COVID-19 disease, nor does it result in a positive COVID-19 PCR test.  

“For anyone wary about taking the vaccine, we would direct them to speak with their medical provider,” Knutson said.

Since phase 1A opened on Dec. 14, 2020, a total of 24,441 vaccine doses have been distributed within Kittitas County, resulting in 9,684 people completely vaccinated as of March 8.

Even with vaccines being distributed, changes in COVID-19 protocols remain to be seen and it is still advised that social distancing and mask guidelines are followed.  Links and photos on KCPHD’s Facebook page have information on how to slow the spread and graphs detailing the phases of vaccination.

In Kittitas County, the cases of people who have contracted COVID-19 are monitored weekly and presented in graphs online. The county currently is in the Red-High zone meaning at least two people have contracted the virus per day and there have been two or more outbreaks. 

Knutson said so far, 21% of the county has been vaccinated.