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Posted on: January 19, 2021

State Moves to Next Covid-19 Vaccine Phase; widespread vaccination plan announced

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The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 that it is  moving into Covid-19 Vaccine Phase 1B Tier 1, expanding vaccine access to more people per week. The state also reduced the 70 and older phase 1B vaccine age restriction to 65 and older which aligns with the federal government announcement last week. 

Yesterday, Governor Inslee also announced an updated statewide vaccine distribution and administration plan to increase the number vaccinations and establish infrastructure capable of mass vaccinations in the coming months. With the expanded vaccine distribution system, the state set a goal of vaccinating 45,000 people per day. 

Included in the plan is the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, a new statewide public-private partnership to boost vaccine distribution efforts. The collaboration includes Washington corporations, labor unions, health care groups and government entities 

How many vaccine doses have been administered so far? As of January 16, Washington state has given approximately 294,386 vaccine doses, equating to 42.3% of the 696,075 total vaccine doses that have been delivered to our state. Last week, the state was giving an average of 14,300 vaccines per day. 

WA DOH said it is focused on expanding vaccine phases and providing more flexibility for providers giving out the vaccine, building capacity via partnerships until it can get enough doses from the federal government to meet that goal of vaccinating 45,000 people per day.  

“The vaccine is a lifesaving tool. We want to get shots in arms and we want to do this quickly. Today’s announcement helps us expand beyond our healthcare sector to other Washingtonians,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH. 

The state hopes to get to Vaccination Phase 1B tiers 2, 3 and 4 in late winter or early spring 2021. It plans to get through 50% of tier 1 before adding in anyone else. 

Governor Inslee said, “We are removing as many impediments as possible to Washingtonians getting vaccinated, we are going to deliver every dose that comes into our state. We will still be dependent on the federal government for doses, but we are doing everything we can once it gets here.” 

Vaccination Phase Changes 

  • Reduction of age restrictions from 70 and older – to 65 and older.  
  • The state will allow providers flexibility for Phase 1B tier 2 through tier 4 eligible individuals to allow for easier administration of the vaccine in congregate settings and workplaces to help increase the throughput. For example, if a school district arranged for a clinic for phase B2-B4, all eligible workers could be vaccinated at the same time. 
  • NOTE: state is NOT changing the Phase 1B tier 3 requirement of two underlying health conditions.

Vaccine Phase Finder 

  • If you want to know what phase you’re in, use DOH’s Phase Finder. Here’s how it works: 
  • Go to FindYourPhaseWA.org and fill out the questionnaire. 
  • If you’re eligible, you will get a confirmation. 
  • Phase Finder will show you locations where you can get the vaccine. 
  • Call and schedule your appointment. 
  • Take your Eligibility Confirmation (printed or a screenshot) with you. 
  • If you aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, you’ll be able to sign up to get an email or text alert when you are. 

Multigenerational Households 

One of the things that the state is not changing is vaccine prioritization for people living in multi-generational households. A multigenerational household is a home where individuals from 2 or more generations reside – such as an elder or grandchild. 

Vaccine Waste 

WA DOH says waste is the last thing it wants. It does not want any provider to think they should throw vaccine doses in the trash instead of giving it to someone. If there are extra vaccine doses that are at risk of going to waste, the state has given providers permission to administer them to the next right person.  

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