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As demand soars for COVID-19 vaccines, council member says King County isn’t getting fair share

A King County council member says the state’s most populous county isn’t getting a fair share of vaccines, and the state should increase the county’s allocation.

SEATTLE — A King County council member says Washington’s most populous county is not getting a fair share of COVID-19 vaccines, and the state should increase the county’s allocation.

“Do it in an equitable way,” said Reagan Dunn, vice chair of the King County Council. “The most equitable way I can think of is let’s distribute it per capita.”

Dunn introduced legislation on Monday requesting that the state give more vaccines to King County, which he said is currently getting about a quarter of the state's supply, even though more than a quarter of Washington's population lives there.

“If 30% of the population is in King County, let's give 30% of the vaccines to King County,” Dunn said.

He argued King County could quickly vaccinate a lot more people, including those who live in other counties, if it had extra doses.

“I think our public health infrastructure is better to provide mass vaccination and distribution than some of those smaller counties,” Dunn said.

Gov. Jay Inslee said on Tuesday that King County is currently receiving about 32% of the state’s allocation of vaccines, and that the figures can vary week to week.

RELATED: Washington hospital leaders worry of surge in cases from new COVID-19 variant

Dunn's request comes as counties statewide are inundated with demand for vaccines.

Grays Harbor County will open a mass COVID vaccination center later this week and they have one thousand doses available, not nearly enough to meet demand.

“We have over 5,000 people who have come and gotten registered into the system thus far, that's a very large number of people and our team is working through those,” said Leonard Johnson, Grays Harbor County Incident Management Team commander.

Kitsap County's mass vaccination center opens on Tuesday. They booked 1,700 appointments and are already full, a county spokesperson said.

“We will announce additional appointments this week if vaccine supply allows. There is no waiting list for future vaccination opportunities,” the county said.

Columbia Basin Hospital in Grant County said it has a waiting list of a thousand people.

“The onslaught of phone calls was amazing, the response in our area of people wanting the vaccine is tremendous, and it did overwhelm our systems,” said Rosalinda Kibby, administrator of Columbia Basin Hospital.

RELATED: Washington administers 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines as more vaccination sites announced