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COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Moving to Provider Need-Based Approach

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Washington State Department of Health News Release logoThe Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is adjusting the way COVID-19 vaccines are allocated in an effort to quickly and equitably reach more people statewide and get vaccine where it’s needed most.

Until recently, DOH used a pro-rata approach for allocations, which means doses were allocated to counties proportionally to match the size of their populations. As vaccine supply has increased, the number of doses health care providers are requesting doesn’t always align with county pro-rata allocations. Moving forward, DOH will make allocation decisions based on individual provider requests for vaccine, in addition to population size. Transitioning to this allocation model moves us closer into alignment with our existing childhood and adult vaccine programs, which are both based on provider request. We will continue to work closely with partners to ensure vaccine is available and accessible to everyone who lives or works in Washington state.

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“While the pro-rata driven model worked well for the first few months of vaccine distribution, now that nearly 30% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated, it is time to adjust our approach in support of our goals to vaccinate more Washingtonians as equitably, quickly, and efficiently as possible,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary of the COVID-19 response.

Each week, providers will continue to order the amount of vaccine they need and DOH will get weekly input from local health jurisdictions (LHJ) on community vaccine priorities. DOH will approve orders based on provider request and LHJ recommendations. Using this method, DOH will be able to distribute vaccine to the communities that need it most, while also providing extra doses to providers who continue to see higher need for vaccine.

In order to ensure providers across the state have doses available to vaccinate their community members, DOH is also offering flexibility to certain providers with throughput and usage. This includes providers who serve smaller communities, support equity efforts, and/or reach special populations, such as hospitals that transfer patients to long-term care facilities. We want to make sure vaccine is available to these groups when they need it.

“Vaccine continues to be the most critical tool we have to end the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts. “The allocation change will help ensure vaccine continues to reach all communities across the state, while also focusing on areas where it has been more difficult for people to find open appointments.”

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The above is a press release from WA State Dept of Health.  The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its content. 

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