Washington State Department of Health provides update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution

The Washington State Department of Health said during a media brieding Thursday that it continues to make progress with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

As of Feb. 15, more than 1,201,120 doses of vaccine have been given across the state, which is nearly 83% of the 1,453,425 doses that have been delivered to  providers and long-term care programs, the health department said. Washington is currently averaging 26,204 vaccine doses given each day. This information can be found on the DOH data dashboard under the vaccines tab, which is updated three times per week.

More vaccine will be coming to Washington starting next week through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Due to the allocation increase, three more pharmacies will be added to the program: Walmart, Rite Aid, and Kroger (Fred Meyer and QFC). These pharmacies will join Safeway/Albertsons, Costco and Health Mart Independent Pharmacies. Program allocations for next week have not been released, but the federal government announced the nationwide program is doubling in size. This week, Washington received about 22,500 doses.

Winter storms are causing vaccine shipment delays across the nation. The Department of Health estimates more than 90% of this week’s allocation will arrive late due to weather out east. Moderna vaccines have not shipped yet this week. Pfizer vaccines did not ship Monday, and only a limited number of vaccine shipments were processed Tuesday and Wednesday. These shipment delays may force providers to reschedule appointments. If you have a vaccine appointment this week, the health department advises that you contact your provider for an update.

Washington’s three-week forecast from the federal government is gradually increasing. The health department says that this information allows them to develop a multi-week strategy that helps with consistency and predictability. The forecast is subject to change as vaccine availability from the federal government may change.

  • Week of Feb. 21: 263,570 total doses (146,110 first doses, 117,460 second doses)
  • Week of Feb. 28: 269,270 total doses (146,110 first doses, 123,160 second doses)
  • Week of March 7: 292,220 total doses (146,110 first doses, 146,110 second doses)

Although the increase is encouraging, allocations still do not meet the number of doses providers requested, the department said. For the week of Feb. 21, Washington state providers requested 436,720 total doses of vaccine, which is 173,150 more doses than the state will receive from the federal government. The Department of Health will honor provider’s second-dose requests and prioritize vaccine series completion.

To guarantee eligible communities receive vaccine, the Department of Health said it will begin allocating more doses to counties with larger populations that qualify under Phases 1A and 1B1. This may mean some counties get more vaccine than others. This statewide approach ensures everyone who is eligible has equal access to vaccine no matter where they live.

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