Courtesy of the Department of Health

Courtesy of the Department of Health

State health officials announce next steps for vaccines

From the Washington State Department of Health:

On Jan. 6, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The department worked closely with the Governor’s Office to finalize prioritization for phase 1B. This phase is broken up into four separate tiers.

In addition to partnership with Gov. Inslee and reliance on federal guidance, nearly 20,000 people across the state weighed in on the prioritization through focus groups, interviews, and surveys over the past few months. This feedback directly informed our recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization and allocation, and continues to help us make sure our vaccine plans are equitable and protect those most at risk from COVID-19 infections.

“Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based in a need for equitable distribution,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah. “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.”

Broadly, groups eligible for vaccination in phase 1B include:

Phase 1B1 – (Tier 1)

All people 70 years and older

People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households

Phase 1B2 – (Tier 2)

High risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings: Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); childcare; corrections, prisons, jails or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement. This phase is set for February.

Phase 1B3 – (Tier 3)

People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions. This phase is set for March.

Phase 1B4 – (Tier 4)

High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings under 50 years

People, staff and volunteers all ages in congregate living settings:

Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; people experiencing homelessness that live in or access services in congregate settings. This phase is set for April.

Additional details of phase 1B will be posted on the DOH website.

Notes

It’s important to note that we are not moving into phase 1B right now. Our state is still in phase 1A of vaccinations, and will continue to be for the next few weeks.

Many pharmacies, clinics and hospitals are vaccinating people in 1A1 (tier 1), and others have moved to 1A2 (tier 2). While phase 1A is still the priority, we hope that the release of phase 1B guidance will help facilities, counties and individuals plan for the months ahead. Once we’re ready to start phase 1B, we will let our communities know how and where to get vaccine.


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