It almost seems greedy to want to choose your coronavirus vaccination site. At this point in the rollout, just getting a vaccine anywhere should be considered an accomplishment. More than 600 providers requested 358,000-plus first doses of shots for this week, per the Washington State Department of Health. Yet our first-dose allocation from the federal government was less than a third of that number—107,125.
Still, forgive us for desiring a little theater whenever we get those momentous jabs. In England, organ music has accompanied shots at a Gothic cathedral. In Boston, thousands can now receive their doses at historical Fenway Park. Other stadiums across the country have opened their gates to help expedite distribution too.
In King County, a local arena has gotten in on the distribution act. Accesso Showare Center in Kent became a vaccination site earlier this week (as did the Auburn General Services Administration Complex). And popup clinics at Amazon's headquarters in South Lake Union have also brought injections out of the realm of gurneys and smocks.
Now our region's original tech giant will offer up its HQ for shots. Partnering with EvergreenHealth and Overlake Medical Center and Clinics, Microsoft will soon open a vaccination center on its Redmond campus. President Brad Smith had mentioned the possibility of using the empty offices in the Seattle suburb during a press conference in January, but a letter from executive vice president Kurt DelBene to Puget Sound employees earlier this week confirmed that commitment. "We share a belief that supporting this effort will contribute to the overall health of our community and help rebuild the economy," DelBene wrote. "This is a unique opportunity for our company at one of the most critical times in history."
DelBene noted that "preferential arrangements will not be made for Microsoft employees and their families," an obligatory statement given a Seattle Times report that EvergreenHealth, Overlake, and Providence Regional Medical Center offered special access to vaccine doses. The state has since threatened to cut dose allocations to any providers coordinating such VIP treatment.
Microsoft had already committed staff and technology support to the state as part of its vaccine mobilization effort. Its vaccination site will hew to the state's equity-based rollout, but it seems likely to stick around into the later phases, if the letter is any indication.
Microsoft's offices might not be a European cathedral, but at least they will provide some novelty. Now folks will just have to figure out where Building 33 is on that massive campus.