PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has officially touched down in Washington.
Officials announced the vaccine’s arrival on Monday morning, saying they expect to receive 62,400 doses of vaccine by the end of this week. The first wave of doses will be distributed to 17 sites across 13 counties. Within the next few days, first doses will be given to high-risk health workers, along with long-term care facility staff and residents.
Washington is expecting an estimated total distribution of 222,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of December, with regular weekly shipments beginning in January.
“We believe that if everything goes according to plan, we’ll have most people in Washington vaccinated by mid-summer,” Michele Roberts, a leader of Washington’s Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine planning group, said. “The rapid development of these vaccines, with such a high rate of efficacy, is a historic achievement, and will help us defeat COVID-19.”
The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses, 21 days apart from each other. Studies have shown a 95% effective rate about seven days after the second dose, but people will not be considered fully protected until one to two weeks after the second dose.
“This vaccine is a sign of hope that the pandemic is something we can overcome,” says Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “We still have a long way to go to beat COVID-19, but this is the tool that will start saving lives immediately.”
Governor Jay Inslee announced his equity package as part of his 2021-2023 budget proposal during a press conference Monday.
His proposal asks for $2.5 million for a new state equity office. A staff of eight people will develop the equity plan. The plan will develop language access requirements, remove barriers to accessing state services and decrease inequities across state government.
“I firmly believe Washington will be an anti-racist state, and I will be taking actions that hold our state to that commitment,” Inslee said during a press conference Monday. “We need our policies and budget to reflect our dedication toward disrupting the harmful systemic cycle of racism and inequity.
Inslee was joined by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, Representative Melanie Morgan and Representative Mia Gregerson.