The minute Kirsten Rogers got a push notification on her phone that she would soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, she and her husband started looking for an appointment.
They, like all Washingtonians 16 and older, will be able to get in line for a coveted shot on April 15 after Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week the state would throw open eligibility for more than 6 million people.
But when Rogers went online to secure a time, she kept hitting dead ends. Websites crashed and sites that did work didn’t yet have appointments after April 15.
“It’s exhausting to be told we can get vaccinated, but hitting walls at every turn on booking appointments,” said Rogers, who lives in Seattle.
Then, in 2011, Dixon transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the year the Curiosity Rover launched. Sitting at his desk, watching the launch coverage, Dixon said the fear faded away.
"It was so spectacular seeing all the engineers and the scientists working on it," he said. "And I had this realization that I was cheating myself and cheating my childhood dreams if I was just going to chicken out and not try and be one of those people one day."
The next day, Dixon changed his major, graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a geosciences degree, then from Western Washington University with a master’s in planetary science.
An online map allows anyone to zero in on projects in their area that are included in the two capital budget proposals that passed out of the chambers. The map shows major projects in and around Bellingham in both proposals that include:
▪ $51 million for a new Electrical Engineering/Computer Science Building at Western Washington University.
- $5 million for a Coast Salish-style longhouse at Western Washington University in the House budget proposal, $3.5 million in the Senate’s.
Add travel to the activities vaccinated Americans can safely enjoy again, according to new U.S. guidance issued Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without getting tested for the coronavirus or going into quarantine afterward.
Still, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged caution and said she would “advocate against general travel overall” given the rising number of infections.
On the first day of National Poetry Month, Washington state’s new poet laureate has been announced: Bellingham resident Rena Priest, whose debut poetry collection “Patriarchy Blues” won an American Book Award in 2018.
Priest, a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, is the first Indigenous poet to hold the position. Her term will begin April 15. Previous state poet laureates are Claudia Castro Luna (2018-present), Tod Marshall (2016-2018), Elizabeth Austen (2014-2016), Kathleen Flenniken (2012-2014), and Sam Green (2007-2009).
A graduate of Western Washington University (B.A. in English) and Sarah Lawrence College (M.F.A. in writing), Priest has received the Allied Arts Foundation 2020 Professional Poets Award and fellowships from Hawthornden Castle, Hedgebrook, Mineral School and the Vadon Foundation. Her work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Pontoon Poetry, Verse Daily, Poem-a-Day at Poets.org and elsewhere, and she has taught cultural studies and Native American literature at Western Washington University and Northwest Indian College. Her most recent poetry collection is “Sublime Subliminal.”
Whatcom County saw one related death and 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Washington State Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard Thursday, April 1.
Overall, Whatcom County has seen 7,323 confirmed cases and 87 related deaths during the pandemic, according to state data as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 31. An additional 241 probable cases — up two from Wednesday’s report — have been reported in Whatcom County during the pandemic, resulting from positive antigen tests not confirmed by a molecular test.
Western Washington University said its recent surge of cases among students is up to 67 confirmed cases, including 34 students that live in campus housing, according to a school advisory Thursday. The surge in cases is believed to include multiple exposures from parties and other smaller social gatherings between March 8 and 15, the advisory stated.
The ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine confirms its protection remains high for at least six months after the second dose, the companies said Thursday.
Protection likely lasts even longer than that, vaccine experts say, but they say having data showing good protection six months after people were vaccinated is good news.
The vaccine remains more than 91% effective against disease with any symptoms for six months, the companies said in a statement. And it appeared to be fully effective against the worrying B.1.351 variant of the virus, which is the dominant strain circulating in South Africa and which researchers feared had evolved to evade the protection of vaccines, the companies said.
"The vaccine was 100% effective against severe disease as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 95.3% effective against severe COVID-19 as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," Pfizer and BioNTech said in a joint statement.
Rough estimates by The Bellingham Herald show that though Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he is opening COVID-19 vaccination to all adults in the state 16 and older, it could take Whatcom County until at least July to get everybody who is eligible vaccinated.
It could take even longer, depending on the supply of vaccine Whatcom County receives.
The governor announced the shift in the state’s timeline at a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon. Previously, he had suggested it was unlikely the state would open up eligibility to all adults substantially ahead of the May 1 deadline set by President Joe Biden.
The honor system has become more important in Washington’s quest to vaccinate its residents against COVID-19.
The Washington state Department of Health announced late Monday that it will take down its Phase Finder tool that residents have been using to verify COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, simplifying the process to find and sign up for a dose.
Whatcom County is one of 18 counties in Washington state to see people test positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after being fully vaccinated, the Whatcom County Health Department told The Bellingham Herald in an email Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, the Washington State Department of Health announced in a release that it was investigating 102 reports of what scientists call “vaccine breakthrough” cases, which the state said are expected with any vaccine. Those cases represent less than 0.01% of the more than 1.23 million Washington state residents who had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as of Saturday, March 27.
Eight people were sick enough to be hospitalized and two potential deaths are being investigated, the state reported.