UPDATE: Governor promises to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations – including immediate eligibility for everyone 65+

3:04 PM: Right now, many pandemic-related questions are focused on vaccination availability – people wondering when and how they will get vaccine access. Viewable above (live and archived afterward), Gov. Jay Inslee is providing updates. We’ll add notes as it goes.

Inslee says it’s “the start of what we think of as the second stage of our vaccination initiative” – and says he has six announcements. First, the state is moving into Phase 1B of vaccinations, and changing the first tier so all Washingtonians 65 and older are eligible to get vaccinated immediately.

Also, those 50 and over who are living in “multigenerational households” are eligible immediately. (Note: This does not apply to parents living with children, but rather people giving cqre to someone such as a grandchild or niece/nephew, the state says.) Once about half the 1B “first tier” is vaccinated, they’ll move to the next tier.

2nd announcement: A statewide goal to make 45,000 vaccinations a day available in Washington as soon as possible. That’s three times the current rate. “Over the next several months we’ll be building toward that goal.” That’s dependent on receiving “more doses from the federal government,” he cautions.

3rd announcement: “We’re going to set up mass vaccination sites statewide,” with National Guard and other support. He lists four sites for starters, none in Seattle or King County (though as he notes, King County has some under development).

4th announcement: New criteria to ensure health-care providers are administering the vaccine appropriately – 95 percent of vaccine doses must be given within a week of being received by a provider. Any doses already received have to be given by next Sunday.

5th announcement: PhaseFinder is being launched so you can figure out where you are in terms of eligibility. He says that’s supposed to help you figure out where to get vaccinated, too. Here’s the link.

6th announcement: A public-private partnership to help marshal vaccination efforts. “We are going to mobilize thousands of people to save people from this virus.” He introduces pre-announced guests including reps of Microsoft, Starbucks, Kaiser Permanente, Sea Mar Community Health, and SEIU Local 1199.

3:24 PM: So far the execs haven’t offered specifics on their roles except that they’re supporting the effort. Kaiser Permanente Washington’s president notes that her company has mass-vaccination experience and is “all in.”

3:33 PM: Now speaking, new Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah. He says the state has given more than 294,000 vaccine doses so far – 42 percent of what the state’s received – a better percentage than last week’s briefing. He stresses again that starting Phase 1B-1 means everyone 65 and older is eligible. He says those in 1B-1 should start hearing from their providers,. If you’re not in 1B-1, “continue to be patient.” But he also says they’re stressing measures to ensure leftover vaccine will not go to waste – giving providers some discretion (stand by for details on that).

3:45 PM: Now Q&A. First question about how many wasted doses – no specific number yet but “very minimal.” … The governor says “partners'” strategy previously might have been “we’ll wait for the doses and then figure out how to get them out” (paraphrasing), but now the plan is to plan to be ready for whatever arrives. He also noted that 2,400 pharmacies are now going to be part of the delivery system. … Next question observes, as we noted above, that it’s not clear what the “partners” will be doing, so they’re asking for elaboration. Also: How do you find out? Dr. Shah says providers have plans for contacting their members/patients; also, PhaseFinder is supposed to show locations near you “where the vaccine has been delivered.” He adds that another tool will be launched within two days – a dashboard with more info on how much vaccine has been received and administered, by county. … State officials promise they’ll make it easier to find out where the vaccine is. The governor adds that “the goal is to give people many kinds of opportunities.” But he cautions that 1.5 million are now eligible – and they only have a tenth of the supply that would require – so be patient. (Added: The state is getting 100,000 “first doses” each week right now.)

3:57 PM: Now that the governor’s eligible (69 years old), he says he plans to get vaccinated within several days (along with wife Trudi Inslee). … How can the state get more vaccine? Pfizer has assured the state that they’re increasing production, the governor says, for one. “We should have high confidence that the numbers of doses will increase in coming months.” He also urges providers to make appointments rather than holding back for fear they won’t have vaccine. … The briefing wraps up at 4:13 pm; the archived video should be available above shortly.

BOTTOM LINE: Though many more people are eligible, there’s not enough vaccine available – yet – for them all to get it immediately. Public Health Seattle/King County elaborates on this here. … Here’s what the governor’s website has published about all this.

30 Replies to "UPDATE: Governor promises to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations - including immediate eligibility for everyone 65+"

  • Cat B January 18, 2021 (3:22 pm)

    PhaseFinder link not working 

    • WSB January 18, 2021 (3:30 pm)

      Try again – it may be slammed. I tested it and it worked.

      • WSB January 18, 2021 (3:32 pm)

        Yeah – I just tried again and got an “abnormally high traffic” error message.

        • WSCurmudgeon January 18, 2021 (4:45 pm)

          I’ve gone through the Phasefinder list of “20” questions twice,  been able to verify the info, then got the dreaded 502 Bad Gateway error message, so volume is still too great.

          • Diane January 18, 2021 (7:12 pm)

            me too

          • Diane January 18, 2021 (7:20 pm)

            just now I finally got it to work, but it gave incorrect info at end, because I am 65+ and eligible, but it said “you are not currently eligible”; I give up on that thing; I’m just going ahead and calling all the vaccine locations on WA state DOH website; EDIT; welp, even though it said “not eligible”; I got the email “FindYourPhaseWA.org : You are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine now.”

    • Mark Noonan January 21, 2021 (5:19 pm)

      Try now if you have not already.

  • KT January 18, 2021 (3:32 pm)

    So our Gov says …A statewide goal to make 45,000 vaccinations a day available in Washington as soon as possible. That’s three times the current rate. “Over the next several months we’ll be building toward that goal…”   So is “over the next several months” his definition os “as soon as possible”.  

  • SeattleTeacher January 18, 2021 (3:36 pm)

    The phasefinder app doesn’t seem to have any ranking information for teachers.

  • Tracey January 18, 2021 (4:18 pm)

    I didn’t here any commentary on how we are going to coordinate people getting second doses in a timely matter.  The window is quite narrow on when 2nd doses are recommended and if we just opened up eligible people to include more doses than we are receiving the math doesn’t compute.  Has WA abandoned the need for a 2nd dose?  Most people in 1A haven’t received their 2nd dose yet.

  • CarDriver January 18, 2021 (4:27 pm)

    Checked again with my dr’s(Swedish) and my pharmacy(QFC). Both said the same thing: we will have shot’s to give-BUT we have NO IDEA when we’ll get vaccine, or how much we’ll get. Their only advice: “watch our websites for further information” 

    • WSB January 18, 2021 (4:30 pm)

      Yes, and the governor made that very clear. There’s not enough vaccine yet for everyone eligible. But the narrow eligibility criteria seemed to be holding up getting out everything that was available, so they’re hopeful this will change that.

  • Stickerbush January 18, 2021 (5:10 pm)

    Phase finder was working earlier today. It’s not very useful though, after spending several  minutes entering information and answering questions all that it did was tell me that I was not currently eligible to get vaccinated.  

    • WSB January 18, 2021 (5:35 pm)

      That is true – but if you’re not eligible now, there’s not much else it can say because the phases are in flux, as today’s announcement showed. Do note that if you choose to give your contact info, supposedly you will be notified when the criteria you have entered makes you eligible.

  • John W January 18, 2021 (5:52 pm)

    Stumbled upon Phase Finder this morning, answered all prompts accurately and was shocked to see that I was Eligible.  Phase Finder confirms your eligibility with a follow-up text or my case , email.  Spent the next hour trying to understand why as my age of 68 seemed the only criteria  I had.  Discovered King County has a registration clearing site for the county that refers you to a facility for vaccines.

  • Chris January 18, 2021 (6:23 pm)

    We have been trying to help a 92 year old without a internet connection get on this.   After going through the form twice… It just  shows “temporarily unavailable.   We are currently experiencing abnormally high traffic volume and working to restore all services as quickly as possible.   Thank you for your patience.” Lots of patience will be needed for sure.    We will try another day & hopefully things will settle down a bit.  

  • HappyOnAlki January 18, 2021 (7:48 pm)

    Got my appts from KP yesterday — so if you have KP, it’s happening.

  • HS January 18, 2021 (8:08 pm)

    I sincerely hope that vaccine manufacture and delivery is able to increase over these next few months.

  • Scooterista January 18, 2021 (8:49 pm)

    I feel like an idiot, but I am gonna ask this anyway: where will we get our shots? Am I supposed to do this through my doctor, or at Safeway, or Walgreens? I know I’m in phase B2, but I have no idea where to go once that phase arrives.

  • Kathy January 18, 2021 (9:16 pm)

    My doctor is with UW Medicine and I was able to get an appointment online for Wednesday at Harborview, I’ll bike over there via the Water Taxi. My husband’s doctor is in the Swedish system and they told him today they don’t have the vaccine yet.

  • Chuck Jacobs January 19, 2021 (6:59 am)

    Math:   Population of the State of Washington – 7,656,200. If 294,000 doses have been administered in the last 30 days, that’s 9,800/day. Inslee says the current rate is 15,000/day. It would take 510 days to vaccinate everyone once, 1021 days for both shots. We’re “building towards” 45,000/day in the “next several months”. That’s 170 days for one shot, 340 days for both. That’s assuming adequate supplies of vaccine, needles, protective gear, health workers, facilities, perfect coordination of everyone, and no waste or mistakes.

    • Don Brubeck January 19, 2021 (8:39 am)

      x about .80 to vaccinate everyone over 16 = 272 days. 

      x .70 to reach WA DoH goal of 70 percent vaccinated = 190 days, or 27 weeks, or roughly six months from now.

    • Tracey January 19, 2021 (8:44 am)

      Thanks Chuck.  Yes, we appear to be abandoning all mathematical principles.  Hopefully, we don’t start abandoning the science too.   I don’t see how opening up the flood gates to more people equates to more vaccines in arms.  I realize the previous method was failing and they had to try something else.  As a 1A provider I can tell you that getting my first shot in arm was far from smooth with appointments being cancelled due to lack of supply for my appointment date and time.  Fingers crossed that this works and doesn’t create further chaos.

  • anonyme January 19, 2021 (9:55 am)

    So, I’ve got the governor telling me I’m now eligible, and a message from Swedish repeating that information.  Neither has any info about how, where or when I can actually get the vaccination.  In other words, no better off and no better informed than I was a week ago.  This all seems like a lot of distraction from the fact that the rollout continues to move at a snail’s pace…

  • Winter January 21, 2021 (2:48 pm)

    2nd dose appt needs to be scheduled with the 1st appt.  On the State’s Covid Vaccine Locator and even on the individual location websites the type of vaccine is not disclosed so there is no way of knowing who to try and book your 2nd dose with. It is an impossible scenario.  My first dose is tomorrow and I do not know if I will get Pfizer or Moderna.  Hoping Moderna as I think it will be easier to locate due to less stringent storage requirements.  At this location, Swedish SeattleU they do NOT schedule 2nd dose appts. with 1st appts; Good luck to us all as I am beginning to think getting a 2nd dose is a pipe dream.  THE STATE NEEDS TO ADDRESS THIS SITUATION BEFORE IT HAS A PANIC SITUATION, we deserve to know the plan.

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