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COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues

Next phases: more health care workers, people with high risk illness


Last updated 1/2/2021 at 10:41am

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Vaccine distribution is continuing in the state, with decisions forming on who is next. Decision makers weigh risks of spread and serious illness from COVID-19, to determine next recipients for the vaccines.

The Washington State Department of Health continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

DOH updated phase 1A guidance just before 2021 began, with the goal of expediting vaccine administration efforts across Washington state.

The tally for the last week in 2020 was as follows: 69,349 people in Washington state received the first dose of vaccine. The DOH expects to order second-dose allocations of the Pfizer vaccine over the weekend of Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, 2021.

Those plans mean initial recipients of the Pfizer vaccine will be receiving the second dose soon, and the DOH expects to start receiving second-dose allocations of the Moderna vaccine the week of Jan. 12. All vaccine recipients must receive two doses of vaccine from the same manufacturer for maximum protection against COVID-19.

Health officials continue to collect more data to better understand effectiveness and safety for both vaccines.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, DOH anticipates the following, in the upcoming three-week allocation in the state:

• Pfizer: 57,525 doses. Pfizer is one of two vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States by the FDA. The World Health Organization also approved this one for worldwide use, against COVID-19.

• Moderna: 44,500 doses (this includes 200 doses originally from week two due to order cancellations).

Data in clinical trials completed prior to emergency use approval showed up to 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infection, once the full vaccination process is complete.

Of the vaccine allocation planned in the next three weeks, 43,375 doses will go to 87 sites in 26 counties, and 58,650 doses will go to support long-term care facilities and 17 tribes and Urban Indian Health Programs.

The process begins with a group called Phase 1a, which includes front-line health care workers who need to stay healthy to serve the public. It also includes people in long-term care facilities, a population with higher risk for dangerous illness from COVID-19. Rapid transmission is also a deciding factor in any congregate settings such as care facilities.

Residents and staff in long term care accounted for 6% of COVID-19 cases and 39% of deaths in the U.S., the CDC states.

Gov. Jay Inslee is involved in the decision to determine the next group of vaccinations. The current group is termed "Phase 1a." Phase 1b is anticipated to include the state's 87 million essential workers and 100 million people with high-risk medical conditions. The 53 million adults older than 65 are also mentioned for Phase 1b, but have a lower risk of spreading illness than essential workers and younger people with medical risk, according to a CDC document from the agency's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. One document lists them in phase 1c.

Decisions for who is next vaccinated include discussion on risk and likelihood of transmission in those groups. More information from the ACIP is here:

In a news release Jan. 1 from the DOH, the agency said prioritization is still in-process for upcoming vaccination groups 1b and 1c. The DOH expects to release guidance on those groups "shortly after the new year, so that communities can begin planning outreach and vaccination of these groups next."


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