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Washington leaders, politicians promise change after slow vaccine rollout

About 201,000 COVID-19 shots have been administered in Washington state so far. Officials agree that's not fast enough.

SEATTLE — A long line in the small town of Sequim Thursday proved that the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is there, even though the supply is not.

Thursday, local leaders in Clallam County opened the first pop-up vaccine clinic for all people over 70 years old. That would be in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Washington state.

The state has yet to move into the next phase, though state leaders said they will release more information on that on Monday.

Gov. Jay Inslee promised changes.

“Frankly we’ve not been having a stable supply system so that we can plan these vaccines. I believe that is going to improve,” Inslee said.

Inslee admitted that there have been logistics issues, and he blamed the outgoing administration and promised help is on the way. 

“Every state is having these challenges. It’s like any new system. But I believe we are going to have a fairly rapid increase in our production, in getting people this vaccine,” Inslee said.

President-elect Joe Biden has also promised that help is on the way, pledging 100 million vaccines administered in his first hundred days in office. But there have been no specifics to date from the incoming president or Washington's current governor.

Though both agree the current system isn’t working.

“The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far,” said Biden during a nationally televised speech Thursday.

According to the Washington Department of Health, more than 201,000 doses have been given to Washingtonians in Phase 1A. That’s less than 3% of the state's population.

“Our message look were going as fast as we can but we need to do better and we are doing better, and we are going to do even better,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the state’s Secretary of Health.