COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Washington

December 17, 2020

We are all so excited that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is starting to arrive! There remains a lot of uncertainty about when vaccine will arrive, how much will come and where each Washingtonian will fall in the state-directed tiers. I will share with you what we know right now.

The Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) are directing the allocation of vaccines and providing guidance on who should be vaccinated first. This week, 17 hospitals in Washington State received some doses of the vaccine. Hospitals were notified that they would be receiving vaccine 24-48 hours before they got it. Distribution of vaccines on this scale is unprecedented and the state’s team is working hard to get it to communities across the state.

The state instructed hospitals to administer vaccines to the people in the 1A tier set by the state. The highest priority subcategory in the 1A tier includes hospital workers directly caring for COVID-19 patients, high-risk first responders as well as residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings for people over 65. The first allotment was relatively small – just 64,000 for the entire state – and did not include enough vaccine for everyone in the 1A tier. To give perspective there are more than 400,000 health care workers in the state.

Washington State will continue to receive vaccine shipments on a weekly basis. In addition to the Pfizer vaccine, our state expects to soon receive shipments of the Moderna vaccine. By the end of December, the state expects to receive as many as 400,000 doses. Right now, hospitals have not been provided information about which hospitals will receive allocations from these shipments. We do know the state is prioritizing according to the allocation guidance mentioned above, and that vaccines will go to hospital staff, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

We will share updates as new information comes in. In the meantime, we have compiled some vaccine resources to support the distribution effort:


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Washington State Hospital Association
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