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Frustration grows as eligible Washingtonians continue to have trouble getting vaccine

People, especially seniors, who can receive the vaccine find the process of getting an appointment to do so confusing and "impossible."

One day after Gov. Jay Inslee celebrated the state increasing its daily vaccination count, many are left wondering how they can get it, especially when they can't find an appointment.

Arlie Becker is 67, lives in Snohomish County and said he can't find a vaccination appointment --  it's not for lack of trying, though. 

"I've been on the Department of Health site and every link I could and calling my hospital, Overlake and Swedish and having no luck getting a vaccine," he said.

KING 5's vaccination tip line has received emails with concerns like Arlie's. Lynn is also having trouble finding an appointment in Snohomish County. Pamela is wondering where you even find out about large vaccination sites, and Judy wants to know why there hasn't been a vaccination clinic in Whatcom County.

"It's confusing and time-consuming," said Arlie.

KING 5 contacted the state Department of Health (DOH) and its public information team answered our questions via email. 

DOH said there's at least one provider in every county taking vaccine appointments. On its website, there's a map tool where you can zoom in to the provider nearest you to find out how to get in touch. There's also information listed on the four current mass vaccination sites but those all seem to book up quickly.

RELATED: How to use Washington's PhaseFinder tool to determine your COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

KING 5 also listened in on Whatcom County's vaccine press conference on Wednesday. The county's health department said it doesn't have a mass vaccination site planned, but they do have 26 enrolled providers ready to take appointments.

The common problem as to why it's difficult to find open appointments, be it on the county and state level, is the low number of vaccines coming in from the federal government. There are 1.7 million people eligible for the vaccine right now in Washington, but the state only gets about 100,000 doses per week to dole out. 

DOH and counties lay the blame on this for causing long waits to get an appointment. 

"We would like more vaccine, and the state would love to have more vaccine from the feds and I think that's our biggest request of the state," said Whatcom County Director of Health, Erika Lautenbach.

High demand and low supply may be the big factor local agencies say is causing the long waits, but that doesn't give folks like Arlie any more confidence they'll get a shot in their arm soon.

"I'm sure the government guys are getting their vaccine. What about the shut ins and citizens and people in nursing homes? The system is broke," he said. 

For anyone not comfortable using the internet to look up information about vaccine appointments, there is a hotline to call. Dial 1-800-525-0127, then press #. If you can’t reach the hotline via that number, you could also call DOH's alternate number, 888-856-5816

RELATED: Washington state to receive a 16% increase in its COVID-19 vaccine allotment