Seattle Public Health Officials Say COVID-19 Funding Inadequate

The federal government reshuffled responsibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to the state and local governments. Now Seattle public health officials fear they don’t have enough COVID-19 funding to provide services, according to a Reuters report. Although a new $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package providing $8.75 billion to states was passed, the feds “spent more than $10 billion to speed COVID-19 vaccine development and has disbursed little funding for distribution” reports Reuters.

Seattle public health officials may have to shut down some virus testing sites because of lack of COVID-19 funding according to a report from @AlArabiya_eng. The city may have to seek alternative means of funding in order to vaccinate its 2.3 million residents. Most of the Seattle area is in King County which received $87 million emergency COVID-19 aid in 2020. In 2021, the county recieved only $14 million of COVID-19 funding, which represents a fraction of the 2020 funding amount. The 2021 allocation is equivalent to what it normally spends in a single month to run public testing sites and other services.

Seattle’s King County anticipates it will need additional funding to employ needed staff, including 40 nurses and administrators.”We’ve been on pins and needles the whole last three or four months, watching what’s happening at the federal level, waiting, watching,” said Ingrid Ulrey, Public Health Policy Director for King County. “It’s shockingly low,” she added. “We have a huge new, unprecedented, daunting task of vaccine delivery” said the Seattle public health official to Reuters.

2.8 million Americans have received a vaccination. This includes the nearly 170,000 residents of nursing homes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “That is far fewer than the 20 million vaccinations the federal government promised for December.” “Nearly 10 million of the 12.4 million doses the government has distributed to states sit unused”.


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