Thousands of doses of the first approved COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Seattle. The photo above is from the initial delivery, at UW Medicine‘s Montlake campus. Now that the vaccine has started arriving, we wondered when it might cross the bay to West Seattle.
First, about the vaccine, from the state Health Department announcement:
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, given 21 days apart. Clinical trial data show the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting 7 days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until 1 to 2 weeks after they receive the second dose. The clinical trials revealed no major unanticipated adverse events.
62,400+ doses are expected to arrive in our state this week, going to 17 sites in 13 counties. The first to be vaccinated will be in Phase 1a, about half a million people described by the state as “high-risk workers in health care settings, high-risk first responders, and patients and staff of long-term care facilities.” (This fact sheet has more details on Phase 1a eligibility.)
Being on that list doesn’t mean you or your facility is getting vaccine immediately. For example, we checked today with Providence Mount St. Vincent, our area’s largest long-term-care center (and one that’s been dealing with a deadly outbreak). The Mount’s Molly Swain tells WSB, “We are indeed so grateful and excited that the vaccine is coming, it just can’t arrive a moment too soon. We don’t, however, have any information, as of today” regarding when and how their residents/patients and staff will get it. They’ll be partnering with Walgreens, but hoping it can be administered on site.
The state has been inviting would-be vaccine providers to enroll. One of the many that have is Trivas Family Medicine (WSB sponsor) here in West Seattle. Dr. Courtney Johnson tells WSB, “The smaller clinics are waiting for approval of the Moderna vaccine, which is more logistically appropriate for the smaller clinics and pharmacies to handle. I’ve applied to be a distributor of the Moderna vaccine. The state is doing an impressive job trying to roll out this huge endeavor in an incredibly short period of time. Where I’m standing it feels like it’s taking forever, but in context it’s very appropriate. The next steps I’m looking for are approval of the Moderna vaccine and more information on the rest of the algorithm to find out who gets vaccinated when.” The Moderna vaccine could get federal approval later this week. Dr. Johnson says the VaccineFinder website is expected to list providers eventually. (We’ll also be reporting on availability here on WSB, as we’ve continued to provide daily pandemic coverage since the very beginning.)
By month’s end, if all goes well, our state expects to have received 222,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 187,000 of the Moderna vaccine, with regular weekly shipments after that. The state hopes most people in the state will be vaccinated by mid-summer.