State Dept of Health expects boost of COVID vaccine doses per week in April
The Washington State Department of Health shared Thursday that nearly double the current weekly allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected within the next month.
“Thirty million doses of vaccine will be available each week across the nation,” said Michele Roberts, assistant secretary with the state DOH. “Breaking that down, that means about 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine should be coming here to Washington state each week in April.”
Right now, the state’s three-week forecast is “pretty steady,” according to the state DOH on Twitter. The department expects to receive about 345,000 doses of vaccine each week from now through early April.
A small allocation of 8,400 Johnson & Johnson doses was also made available this week, which the DOH says was sent to counties where the allocations were lower to make sure they receive their proportional share to match the eligible population.
The DOH noted that it’s made “great progress” on vaccinations, having now handed out over 2.5 million doses, and continuing to meet its goal of distributing 45,000 doses a day.
More than 66% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose, and more than 40% of that age group are fully vaccinated. In total, 21% of Washington’s population have had least one dose, while 12% have now been fully vaccinated.
“Every single person who gets vaccinated and completes the series is helping us move one step closer to ending this pandemic,” Roberts said.
On March 17, the state moved into a new tier of vaccine eligibility: Phase 1B, Tier 2, which includes high-risk critical workers who work certain congregate settings. It also includes those who are 16 years or older who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at a high risk for severe illness. Anyone who was eligible in an earlier phase or tier remains eligible now.
“By the governor’s order, more people are going to be eligible for vaccine this week, starting Wednesday, but please know it may and it will take several weeks before those newly eligible for vaccine will be able to totally access shots,” said Patty Hayes, director of Public Health — Seattle & King County, in a video shared by the county. “I’d like to have more vaccine right now. I appreciate your patience and your waiting for your turn to come.”
“When the supply of doses come, and it will, we have the capacity and the plan, and the partners in place, to administer at least 300,000 doses per week, three times what we’re doing right now, as soon as that vaccine supply is available,” Hayes added, speaking to the capacity for King County.
Kim Schrier, U.S. Representative for Washington’s 8th Congressional District, forecasts that we will probably have more supply than demand within a few months.
“Then we’re going to have to turn our attention to helping people who are feeling a little bit reluctant about vaccines, a little bit scared, feel more comfortable or even excited to get theirs,” she said. “So please, have conversations with your loved ones, your family members who might be feeling a little bit uneasy right now. If you yourself are feeling unsure, talk with your doctor, talk out your concerns, and follow trusted sources.”
The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.