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Pierce County pharmacy continues push to get people vaccinated against COVID-19

The owner of Kirk's Pharmacy said the new mask mandate, which takes effect Monday, may generate interest in the vaccine for those who thought the pandemic was over.

PUYALLUP, Wash. — A locally-owned pharmacy in Pierce County is continuing its push to get people vaccinated against COVID-19 as the county stills lags behind neighboring counties and the state in vaccinations. 

Pharmacist Andrew Heinz, of Kirk's Pharmacy in Puyallup, has been helping rural areas of Pierce County access the vaccine. In May of this year, the pharmacy partnered with the Eatonville School District to host a vaccine clinic aimed at students age 12 to 15-years-old.  

Recently, Heinz said the demand for the vaccine has slowed down. During the height of the vaccine rollout, Heinz was vaccinating as many as a hundred people a day at the Puyallup pharmacy. Now, that number is down to about 10.

“There are quieter days, but it has leveled off. It will be interesting to see the next couple of weeks with the mandate and that deadline and what that looks like,” said Heinz. 

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As COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward statewide, Gov. Jay Inslee this week announced another mask mandate that takes effect Monday and also mandated COVID-19 vaccines for certain workers

Heinz said a mask mandate may generate interest in the vaccine from some who thought the pandemic was over.

“Hopefully it’s like riding a bike. We all did it for long and we got a little bit of a taste of what it’s like without masks but going into the fall and colder weather and more indoor things, it just probably makes sense and we’ll just role with the punches I guess,” Heinz said.

Laura Mildenberger is proof that opinions can change. She received her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at Kirk's Pharmacy despite previously having apprehensions about the shot.

“Lots of people that I know personally were on the fence and now are not and I am actually one of them,” Mildenberger said.

Pierce County continues to trail the state average for COVID-19 vaccinations. To date, Pierce County has 49.1% of its population partially vaccinated, compared to 70.1% in King County and 71.5% statewide, according to data from the Department of Health.