Word began to come out a few weeks ago that the Benton Fairgrounds Vaccination site might be closing by the end of May.

According to reports, it was in part to declining demand as well as vaccines becoming more readily available through doctor's offices, pharmacies and pop-up vaccination clinics.

Now, according to Benton Franklin Health District officials, the fairgrounds site will shut down on May 28th. That's the expected day for what officials call its "demobilization."

Since the site went operational January 25th, it's given out close to 80,000 vaccines; officials expect to meet or exceed that mark by the end of the month.

This image is from January 27, two days after the site opened and demand was very high for vaccines.  Over the last month to six weeks, vaccines still being given, but demand slowed noticeably; and hundreds of appointments were available. The last couple of weeks, no appointments were required.

Benton Fairgrounds Vaccination site, seen on January 27, 2021 when demand was high (KNDU TV)

Officials say declining demand for vaccines is part of the reason, it's also because the National Guard helping to operate the facility will be needed elsewhere as we approach fire season in Washington state.

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According to KEPR-TV,  Dr. Amy Person of the BFHD says the demobilization of these mass sites is going to take place because infrastructure is now in place to allow people a wide variety of places to get vaccinated.

Reports say the Fairgrounds site is working with the CBC West Site to increase it's capabilities so demand can be met when the Fairgrounds closes down.

The Fairgrounds was one of several such mass vaccination sites in Eastern Washington. While it did serve many people's needs, it did affect some youth sporting events that were slated to take place next to the facility, namely some youth football leagues that normally play in the fall; but had to play in the spring due to COVID.

One of the leagues had to play their games at area middle school fields due to the fairgrounds parking and other infrastructure being occupied by the vaccination site.

 

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