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Gov. Inslee unveils public-private partnership to ramp up vaccine distribution statewide

Gov. Jay Inslee on Jan. 18, 2021. (TVW)

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a series of changes to COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Washington state on Monday, including an immediate move to Phase 1B of vaccinations. All Washingtonians 65 years and older are now eligible to be vaccinated in the first tier of Phase 1B, which is in line with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but is a change from the state’s previous outline.

The governor also unveiled a public-private partnership to accelerate vaccine distribution statewide.

“We are calling this the ‘Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center,’ led by the Department of Health and in partnership with business, health care, and labor leaders,” Gov. Inslee said. “This team will coordinate all available resources to administer more vaccines in the state of Washington in the fastest and most efficient way possible.”

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Included in the partnership are Microsoft, Starbucks, Kaiser Permanente Washington, and SeaMar Community Health Centers, as well as the statewide health care workers union SEIU 1199 NW.

“This is a massive effort, and as noble as any cause will be in 2021 because this is the year we choose to get vaccinated, Washington,” Gov. Inslee said. “… We are mobilizing thousands of workers and resources to save people from this virus.”

The goal, as the governor explained, is to reach 45,000 vaccinations for COVID-19 every day in the state. While this goal is higher than the current vaccine allocation from the federal government, Inslee said trying to meet this goal now will help us get the infrastructure in place when doses increase.

Here’s how each of the partners will be assisting:

  • Kaiser Permanente: planning expertise for mass vaccination clinics and the distribution of vaccine to health care providers throughout the state
  • Starbucks: operational efficiency, scalable modeling, and human-centered design expertise and support
  • Microsoft: technology expertise and support
  • Costco: vaccine delivery by pharmacies
  • SEIU 1199 NW: coordination of volunteer vaccinators to locations where they are most needed
  • UFCW 21: staffing and training coordination of vaccinators
  • Washington State Nurses Association: safety and health consultation for providers
  • SeaMar: voice for historically underserved communities
  • National Guard: logistics and infrastructure support

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will coordinate volunteer vaccinators to support vaccine administration in Spokane, Kennewick, and Bellevue, and will provide assistance across the state as needed.

Multiple high-volume vaccination sites will be established to prepare for future vaccine allocations, some of which will be built upon existing infrastructure. The following sites will begin COVID vaccine administration next week: Spokane Arena in Spokane, Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick, Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, and Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield.

“The state’s allocations for next week will be split between these sites, pharmacies, and local clinics to begin 1B vaccinations, as well as existing vaccination sites in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties,” Gov. Inslee said.

Additionally, the state is mandating that 95% of vaccine allocations be administered within a week of receipt. All existing vaccine must be given by Jan. 24. Providers must submit vaccine data to the state within 24 hours of administration, with daily information on dosages submitted to the state DOH.

The state DOH also launched a new phase finder tool online here where you can find out if you’re eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or be notified once you are eligible.

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