COVID Vaccine Slowly Rolling Out in WA

Author: Christian Emmer, Used Under Creative Commons License

Washington state began administering the COVID-19 vaccine in late December. However, it is not expected to be available for most people until the summer of this year. Phase 1 of the rollout is planned to run from December of 2020 to April 2021, and mandates the vaccination of medical personnel, residents of nursing homes, people over 70, people over 50 in multigenerational households, high-risk workers over 50, any adults with multiple comorbidities and those in especially dangerous living arrangements, such as prisons, group homes or homeless shelters. No information on later vaccination phases, or when the vaccine may become available to the general public has been released.

So far Washington has only administered 19 percent of the vaccine doses it has been allocated, and although according to the plan it should be in tier B1, many parts of the state have not yet completed tier A1, or the vaccination of workers in high-risk healthcare settings. In King County, only 35,655 of the 107,925 doses allocated have been administered so far. State Secretary of Health Shah, who was only appointed on December 21, told KING5 the delays were caused by overburdened local agencies, saying “Those same states and locals are also doing contact tracing, and doing testing and epidemiologic investigation and doing all sorts of other logistics, so it’s not surprising that it’s gonna take time.” However, he remained confident in the state’s vaccine allocation plan.