The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Governor Jay Inslee have set a date for advancing to the next phases of vaccine eligibility, making the life-saving shot available to more people in the coming weeks.
Changes to who is eligible are projected to begin on March 22, when the state will include those in Phase 1B-2, making more people eligible to receive this life-saving vaccine. 1B-2 will now include all the high-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings, and there will be no age distinction among them. This essentially means that 1B-2 will include all the critical workers who were previously in phases 1B-2 and 1B-4. DOH will also open 1B-2 eligibility to people 16 and over who are pregnant or have certain disabilities that greatly increase risk of severe illness from COVID-19. We acknowledge and appreciate the feedback from our community partners, including from the Vaccine Implementation Collaborative, to intentionally include these groups. Read the complete guidance regarding who will become eligible here.
Additional high-risk groups will be included as follows:
- April 12 – people with 2+ comorbidities who are 50 and older (1B-3)
- April 26 – People with 2+ comorbidities who are 16 and older (1B-3)
- April 26 – People, staff, and volunteers in congregate living settings (1B-4)
All of these dates are tentative and subject to change based on vaccine demand and supply.
“Since the beginning, our state vaccine prioritization process has been focused on helping those who are most at-risk first. This next phase continues with those values and I am glad that we can provide a pathway for this next group to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.
“This is the kind of forward progress we want to see with vaccines across the state,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “More than 1.7 million vaccines have been given in our state in less than three months. We have proven that we can get shots in arms and we can do it quickly and in an equitable manner. As long we have ample supply from our federal partners, we can continue down this very promising road.”
“We want to make it clear that people who are already eligible will continue to be eligible,” said Michele Roberts, Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Community Health and one of the state’s leaders for the [COVID-19 vaccine] rollout. “When a new group starts, it will take time to get them all vaccinated, so we appreciate people’s patience as we open up phases of eligibility.”
To learn more about vaccine distribution in the state of Washington, The Department of Health and Microsoft’s AI for Health team have partnered to create an interactive COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard.