Tuesday afternoon, officials overseeing the Benton County Fairgrounds Vaccination site sent word to local media and others urging people to take advantage of the "hundreds" of open appointments for the rest of this week.

According to officials:

"Citizens are still encouraged to go to prepmod.doh.wa.gov (Click on Find a Clinic, Search, and scroll until you find Benton Franklin - Kennewick COVID Vaccine Clinic) to schedule their appointment and reserve their vaccines.
We are administering 1st and 2nd doses of Pfizer. 

Everyone over 16 is eligible for a Pfizer vaccine at the Benton County Vaccination site. "

  The hours are for this week:

Tuesday and Thursday 10 am to 4 pm

Wednesday and Friday 11 am to 8 pm

Saturday 9 am to noon.

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   Based upon information reported around the Tri City area the last couple of weeks, it appears there's been a slowdown in vaccination rates. While Franklin County has seen some increases, in general the pace has slowed compared to a month, and two months ago.

   Now that everyone in WA state over the age of 16 is eligible to get the vaccines, officials are not seeing a 'tidal wave' or massive increases in traffic in our area. Many are still being vaccinated. But it appears those who were intent on getting the shot have, or are doing so, while those who are on the fence aren't. That includes persons who indicate they will not be vaccinated.

   The Fairgrounds site says everyone 16 and over can get the Pfizer vaccine, and they are administering 1st and 2nd doses of Pfizer.

  Part of the urgency in filling appointments stems from not wanting vaccines to 'expire.' Officials have to walk a fine line between anticipated demand, and actual shots that are 'thawed' and prepped for use.  Once a vaccine is removed from it's cold storage (used in transportation and for preservation) it only has a limited shelf life before it becomes expired and useless. 

 For more information on the site, click on the button below.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.