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Washington expects to receive over 470,000 COVID vaccine doses by end of December

A vial of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

The Washington State Department of Health revealed Thursday that it expects to receive over 470,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of December.

Health officials provide details on how COVID vaccine will be handed out

Assuming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna, Washington will received an estimated 62,000 doses from the former sometime next week. Another 220,000 doses from Pfizer will arrive by the end of the month, totaling 20,000 more than the DOH had initially expected to receive.

Moderna will be sending roughly 183,000 doses of its vaccine to Washington by the end of December as well, once approved. Both companies will then begin sending regular weekly shipments starting in January.

As of publishing, 189 organizations statewide have enrolled as COVID vaccine providers, with “many more applications being reviewed and processed.” The bulk of those organizations are hospitals and family medicine clinics.

The first round of vaccine doses will go to health care workers in high-risk environments, highest-risk first responders, and residents and staff in long-term care facilities. The DOH expects it will “take a number of weeks” to clear that initial phase of distribution. After that, it will go to all people over 65 years of age, and those with underlying medical conditions, followed by child care workers, law enforcement, agricultural workers, and those working in “critical infrastructure.”

Washington begins preparing for December arrival of COVID vaccine

The DOH also recently coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a mock vaccine delivery. Given that the vaccine must be shipped and stored at “ultra-cold temperatures,” the hope was to “better understand the expectations for future deliveries.”

The mock delivery was helped along by the Snohomish Health District, which received “a box packaged in a way meant to simulate how shipments of vaccine would arrive.”

“The package took less than 24 hours to arrive once shipped,” the DOH described. “Inside, there was a dry ice pod and an empty box, but staff followed all instructions provided as if vaccine vials were included. The materials were sent back early this week.”

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