Gov. Jay Inslee and a slew of others held a press conference today, Monday January 18, 2021, to outline new COVID-19 vaccine distribution guidelines moving forward. Inslee announced a series of changes to vaccine administration and unveiled a new statewide public-private partnership for the state's vaccine distribution plan. It's time to play offense with the global pandemic.

Person receiving a vaccine
Jeffrey Hamilton

The governor was joined by:

  • Dr. Umair Shah, secretary, Department of Health
  • Jane Hopkins, RN, executive vice president, SEIU 1199NW
  • Brad Smith, president, Microsoft
  • Kevin Johnson, CEO, Starbucks
  • Susan Mullaney, president, Kaiser Permanente Washington
  • Rogelio Riojas, president and CEO, SeaMar Community Health Centers

The state of Washington is now in the second stage of its vaccine initiative and the plan is to boldly and aggressively introduce the number of vaccinations on a much broader scale.

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Six points were put forth by the Governor:

1. Effective immediately Washington enters Phase 1B of vaccine distribution.  Starting with Tier 1, residents aged 65 and older can get vaccines starting immediately. 80% of all Washington COVID-19 deaths are among the 65+ age group. Gov. Inslee said, "We must protect the most vulnerable." Also eligible in this first tier are state residents aged 50 and over. They can get the shot immediately if they live within multi-generational households. Also, get the shot now if you're in any of the higher risk categories. After half of the Tier 1 residents have been vaccinated, then it's Tier 2 of Phase 1B's turn.

2. Establish 45,000 vaccinations a day in Washington, which is much higher than the state's current allotment by several fold, as Washington is only vaccinating about 13,000-15,000 people a day. So that means we must build capacity, so the state will overshoot, and expect more from the federal government. Over the next several months, we are building toward capacity starting today.

3. Mass vaccination sites will be set-up statewide, with assistance from the National Guard, for first tier recipients next week. The sites are: Spokane Arena; Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick; Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield and Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee.

4. Establish a new criteria to ensure our vaccinating partners are administering the shots in a timely manner. Cooperation is a must for the vaccine to get into arms. The requirement will be 95% of future allocations are directly dependent upon the shots be administered within a week of being shipped, backed up with documentation. All shots already available now, must be given by this Sunday, January 24, 2021.

5. Launching the Washington state phase finder to determine your eligibility. Fill out a form, provide criteria, and it will choose for you where to go and find the dosages in your area.

6. Fully mobilize the tremendous resources in our state. A public-private partnership called the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center (WSVCCC) was announced. It combines the power of the state's businesses, health care sector and labor organizations, all working together to aggressively go on the offense against COVID-19 as fast as possible.

2021 is the year to get vaccinated in our state.

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