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Gov. Inslee: Fed’s increased vaccine supply will help WA reach goal

Gov. Inslee on Jan. 26, 2021. (TVW)

In just over a week since Governor Jay Inslee announced a number of new measures intended to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine distribution statewide, he says the measures are working.

Where to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in Washington state

“These measures are working. We certainly have a long way to go, but we have made significant progress in the last week,” Gov. Inslee said Tuesday.

“Washingtonians are most eager to get this vaccine — that’s really good news,” he added.

The main challenge in vaccine distribution for Washington state, Inslee explained, remains that there are more eligible people than doses available, provided by the federal government. The governor recognizes that frustration is profound, but reminded everyone that “we can protect ourselves while we are waiting.”

There would be temptation to reduce our guard now that the vaccine is here, Gov. Inslee says, but at this moment we need to “double down and increase” our protection, in part due to new variants that are known to be more transmissible.

Gov. Inslee said he was on a call today with other governors across the United States, and was told by the Biden administration that states can expect a 16% increase in allotment nationally — a combination of doses from both Moderna and Pfizer — and were told that amount would be a certain delivery schedule for the next three weeks.

Additionally, the federal government will also deliver special syringes that are used to coax an additional dose out of every vial for Pfizer, Inslee explained, leading to six doses per vial rather than five.

One week ago, the governor says Washington was administering about 14,000 doses per day statewide. Now, that’s up to about 24,000 on a seven-day rolling average. He shared that on Jan. 19, there were 16,146 vaccinated, 36,478 vaccinated on Jan. 24, and 39,063 on Jan. 25.

The goal for Washington state is to build capacity up to 45,000 vaccinations per day.

The increases the state has seen in the past week in doses given per day are attributable to multiple sources, Inslee says, including better reporting, new provider requirements to accelerate the administration of the vaccine, the massive public-private partnerships, and the cooperation of thousands of volunteers in communities statewide.

“You are witnessing communities coming together to stand up multiple ways of administering this vaccine,” Inslee said, emphasizing that multiple ways are needed to reach the state’s goal.

“We’ve got to have every play in our playbook, and that’s happening in the state of Washington,” he added.

Gov. Inslee also said that 32% of doses allocated to Washington had been given two weeks ago, which is now up to 57% of doses delivered. He says that number will continue to go up as providers can report more vaccinations, as there are more people who have been vaccinated that are not in the system yet.

There are now over half a million Washingtonians that have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — including Gov. Inslee and his wife Trudi — but there’s still a long way to go, “and many days to get there with the number of people we need to vaccinate.”

State DOH says Phase 1B, Tier 1 could take months to get through

“We demonstrated what we can do in one week, and we need to continue that acceleration process,”  Inslee said. “… The good news is that people are getting their vaccines.”

Find out if you’re eligible to be vaccinated now at FindYourPhaseWA.org. The Washington State Department of Health’s website also includes information on where to find the vaccine near you.

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