YAKIMA, Wash. — Just in time for the asparagus harvest that will employ large numbers of farm workers, the federal government has opened a mass COVID-19 vaccination center in Yakima, Washington.
The state’s first federal mass vaccination center is located at the Central Washington State Fair Park. It opened Wednesday and will administer close to 1,200 doses of vaccine per day. That's according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which operates the site along with state and local officials. The program also includes mobile vaccination units serving surrounding communities.
Vaccine will come there directly from the federal government rather than from the state’s weekly allocation.
The additional doses will help vaccinate more Washingtonians, including those in rural and agricultural communities that have been particularly hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Yakima County, 14.32% of people have been fully vaccinated, which lags behind statewide vaccination efforts, according to data from the Washington State Department of Health.
The new site opened on the same day that vaccine eligibility in Washington expanded to include people with two or more medical conditions, people over 60 and people living or working in certain congregate settings, such as correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness. About 2 million more people can now get a COVID-19 shot.
The drive-thru site will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Sunday. On Thursdays the site will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mobile unit locations and hours will be available and updated on the Yakima Health District website.