BELLEVUE, Wash. — Doctors at some small clinics in Washington state are frustrated with how long it is taking for them to get COVID-19 vaccines.
“It's a lot of dead ends,” said Dr. Christina Julian, a physician at Acute Pain Therapies in Bellevue, a small clinic that specializes in pain management.
Julian said she meets the criteria for Washington's Phase 1a, which prioritizes vaccines for frontline medical workers.
But unlike doctors who work for large hospitals and medical systems, she's been unable to find out how she and her staff can get COVID-19 vaccines.
For weeks, Julian has been calling around to other clinics and hospitals, trying to see if any doses are available. But she said she keeps getting the runaround.
She said calling the Washington Department of Health (DOH) hasn’t helped either.
“Whoever gets on the phone with me basically just reads what's on the website," said Julian. "They have no information."
The DOH said during a press briefing Wednesday that the state is encouraging larger clinics and hospitals to vaccinate healthcare workers outside of their organizations.
The DOH said they think the delays and confusion could be a communication problem, exacerbated by the holidays and the unpredictable vaccine delivery schedule.
“This is par for the course, it happens,” said Dr. Umair Shah, Washington State Secretary of Health. "Communication is the number one challenge that we have in any response, and so we will continue to do better, we will continue to do whatever we can to champion optimal communication.”
“Where we do not have it right, we will get it right,” said Shah.
Julian said her experience raises concerns about the rest of the vaccination rollout.
“I just feel like there's been no organization,” she said.
Julian said she will keep hitting the phones, hoping someone has an extra shot.