YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima Valley is getting a COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru and multiple mobile vaccination units through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office announced Monday.
The White House also announced Monday that FEMA approved the application from the state and the Yakima County Health District. The program will open on March 31, and it will stay open for six weeks.
A drive-thru vaccination site at the Central Washington State Fair Park combined with the mobile vaccination units will drive up the site's vaccination capacity from 200 shots a day to 1,200, according to the Governor's office.
The additional vaccine doses needed to run the site will be provided by the federal government. The doses won't be taken from the Washington or Yakima County's regular allotments, the governor's office said.
The site and mobile vaccination units will expand the county's current vaccination services to rural and agricultural communities within the county including Selah, Naches, Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Sunnyside, Mabton and Grandview.
“We are so appreciative to FEMA and our other federal partners for working with the state to make significant additional resources available to the people of the Yakima Valley,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This will be a tremendous boost to our vaccine equity efforts and will also reach out directly to Washingtonians who don’t have the means of transportation to a fixed vaccination site.”
The COVID-19 pandemic hit communities in Yakima County particularly hard, with disproportionately high infection and hospitalization rates compared to the rest of Washington, according to the Governor's office.
Nearly 20% of Yakima residents live below the poverty line. Residents of Yakima County make up a significant portion of essential workers in the agricultural and food processing industries who cannot work from home, the release reads. People of color have accounted for approximately 50% of the county's COVID-19 cases.
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.