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'Happy': Many express relief as 1,000 people receive COVID-19 vaccine in Eatonville

Some people slept in their cars overnight to ensure a place in line for the appointment-free vaccine clinic set up at Eatonville High School.

EATONVILLE, Wash. — Lines were wrapped around Eatonville High School early Saturday morning, as people waited in line for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Hours before the clinic, people were camped out, some even overnight. Lines were so long, they extended far down surrounding streets and caused traffic backups for more than an hour.

Some who waited for hours said they don't have computers to search for a vaccine and sign up for an appointment. Others had made many failed attempts to book a vaccination appointment online.

"My wife is battling cancer and I have diabetes and we've been trying to get the vaccine but it's been hard and then this popped up so we had to get here," said one local resident who had been trying to get a vaccine for weeks. "She thought it was one of those drive-up ones, but I said no honey I'll wait in line for you. So I got her a ticket so we can be happy and get our vaccine now."

There were only 1,000 doses of the vaccine at Saturday's pop-up clinic. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department supplied 900 doses and 100 doses were from Rankos Pharmacy in Tacoma.

Between 18 to 20 health care professionals administered the vaccines, with 20 to 30 volunteers assisting with paperwork. 

The vaccines were only available for health care workers, people 65 and up, and people 50 years or older living in a multi-generational home.

Insurance is not necessary to receive the free vaccine.

Those who secured a ticket will need to hang onto it, as it secures their spot for their second dose. 

RELATED: List of mass COVID-19 vaccine sites in western Washington