Editor's Note: Chronicle Reporter Claudia Yaw reported in Saturday's edition of The Chronicle that Lewis County was last in the state in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. You can read that story here. Below is a letter from 20th District lawmakers to Gov. Jay Inslee on the issue.
Dear Governor Inslee:
We write to express our significant concerns for the process by which your administration is distributing vaccines to counties and communities in the state of Washington. In particular, the Daily Chronicle in Centralia reported only 6.76% of Lewis County residents have initiated vaccination, compared to 11.73% statewide. Only 1.70% of residents have received both doses, compared to 4.10% statewide.
At first, it was surmised this might be the result of personal choice by the residents of Lewis County. However, after consulting the Lewis County Department of Health, the county received only .5% of allocated dosages, despite representing 1% of Washington’s population. Additionally, over the past three weeks, Lewis County received only .1% of the allocated vaccine doses. The fact is Lewis County is receiving less doses than other counties. This is despite Lewis County having a senior population 5% higher than the statewide average.
To better help us and the public understand your administration’s process for vaccine distribution, we write to ask that you provide the following information:
• A full accounting of the vaccine doses received to date by your administration for distribution;
• A full accounting of the vaccine doses being held by your administration for future distribution;
• A full accounting of the vaccine doses your administration anticipates receiving over the next six months for distribution;
• The “pro-rata” methodology your administration uses to determine where vaccine doses are distributed;
• The methodology your administration uses to determine who receives the vaccine doses distributed; and
• The person, people, or organizations your administration consulted with or relied upon for selecting the methodology used to determine where and who receives the vaccine doses distributed.
Distribution of vaccine doses should be open and transparent; and equally important, the process must be fair. The health and safety for residents in rural counties, such as Lewis County, must be treated equally by this administration. Unfortunately, that fair distribution of the vaccine is not evidenced by the data available.
We, and residents of the State of Washington, look forward to receiving your response.
Rep. Peter Abbarno
Rep. Ed Orcutt
Sen. John Braun