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Washington State Ferries hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinic

For the first time, Washington State Ferries hosted a clinic for passengers on the Seattle-Bremerton route.

SEATTLE —
The effort to vaccinate Washingtonians against the coronavirus took to the water on Tuesday. 

For the first time, Washington State Ferries hosted a clinic for passengers on the Seattle-Bremerton route.

As the ferry to Bremerton pulled away from dock, pharmacist Sherry Whitley was making sure no dose went to waste.

“As soon as I puncture it I have six hours to use all of the Johnson & Johnson before it goes bad - if I keep it in our cooler,” Whitley said.

There were 180 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine inside a cooler, waiting for passengers that chose to be vaccinated. 

Peninsula Community Health Services coordinated the floating vaccine clinic – and here’s there sales pitch:

“You have not sacrificed anything. You were going to be on the ferry anyway. You’ve got another lovely hour-long ride ahead of you. It’s never going to be more convenient than you having literally having no downtime lost,” said Tony Lyon-Loftus, the associate medical director of the Peninsula Community Health Services.

Brad Mann of Bremerton said he wasn't planning on getting the vaccine on Tuesday.

“To be honest I wasn’t going to do it, but they made it so easy coming on the ferry that I decided to go ahead and take advantage of it,” Mann said.

It was one more dose given as the tactic begins to change to get more people vaccinated. With the vaccine now open to anyone 12 and older, the goal for medical professionals is to convince those that are on the fence.

By mid-day Tuesday, more people said "no" than "yes" to getting a vaccine – but not for reasons you might think. Many on board that ferry were already vaccinated.

“We are here to catch the few that slip through the cracks but are thankfully validated that most other people are squared away, which is really wonderful to see,” Lyon-Loftus said.