Inslee: Vaccination on upswing, next phase to expand

Washington

People who work in the public are next to be able to get in line

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday the state will soon be able to move into the next phase of vaccinations.

By March 22, Inslee hopes Washington state can move to a phase where people who work in the public — at grocery stores, public transit, first responders — will finally be eligible.

So far, 1.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Washington.

“We are averaging, over a 7-day average, now 43,764 doses everyday,” Inslee said. “The pace of our vaccination program and availability are both on an upswing.”

The state’s vaccine supply is increasing so more people will soon be eligible to receive it, he said.

“On our current trajectory we expect that on March 22 — a little less than three weeks from today — we will enter our second tier of Phase 1B.”

The date is tentative, he said, but if things go according to the plan, people who work in congregate setting are next on the list.

“This group of people who work in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, public transit, fire fighters, law enforcement, as well as workers in corrections – prisons, jails or detention centers,” Inslee said.

People age 16+ who are pregnant or who have a disability that puts them at higher risk will also become eligible then.

By April 12, anyone over the age of 50 with two or more comorbidities will be eligible.

By April 26, anyone over the age of 16 with two or more comorbidities to be eligible. People living in congregate settings or people experiencing homelessness will also be eligible then.

Inslee stressed these dates are tentative based on supply and the current vaccination progress. He said he spoke with the Pfizer CEO this week, who said he’s confident the supplies will continue to increase.

A week ago, Inslee discussed how all Washington regions have been holding steady with their COVID-19 infection rates.

Inslee said a decline in COVID-19 infection rates in recent weeks led him to place a pause on a region’s ability to slide back into Phase 1. He said state leaders will continue working with experts on how to continue moving forward in the next few weeks based on the latest scientific information.

Washington’s average daily case numbers have come down from 3,000 just a couple of months ago to under 1,000 today, Inslee said. He thanked residents for “wearing masks and being safe” to bring numbers down.

Inslee’s overall tone was one of hope but he warned residents to remain cautious now that “we’re so close to victory.”

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