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Gov. Inslee opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults April 15

JoAnn Lewis receives a COVID-19 vaccination from a Washington National Guard medic at Town Toyota Center on January 26, 2021 in Wenatchee, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

On Thursday, April 15, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all adults who want it, ages 16 and up, in Washington state.

Where to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in Washington state

Gov. Inslee announced this expansion Wednesday, after previously expressing that the state would not be likely to widely expand eligibility to all adults much before the deadline set by President Biden of May 1. The governor did not entirely rule out the possibility for an earlier expansion, which he had said could happen if the vaccination rate increases dramatically.

The federal government has said that dose allocations are expected to increase in April. More than 30 other states have already set a date prior to May 1 for expanded eligibility to all adults.

Gov. Inslee and state health officials have previously prioritized the limited dose allocation to those who are most vulnerable for severe illness or death, which has included older adults and those living in long-term care facilities, as well as those who have disabilities or co-morbidities. It was expanded to those who live and work in other congregate settings, including farm workers, and to those who work in jobs with a higher risk of exposure, such as grocery store or restaurant workers, public transportation employees, and educators.

April 15 is four months to the day from when vaccinations started in Washington, on Dec. 15, 2020.

One of the reasons why the state is choosing to open up vaccine eligibility, Inslee explained, is due to a disturbing trend of rising cases in many parts of the state. Opening up full eligibility is one tool to help in the fight against the virus and help ensure that cases stay down.

Gov. Inslee pointed out that there are still a number of people over 65 years of age who still have not yet received their vaccination against COVID-19.

“It is a dangerous situation not to be vaccinated, specifically if you are over 65 today,” Inslee said. “… I am calling on all of us to help these folks — our parents, our uncles, our aunts, our grandparents.”

As of Wednesday, March 31, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Washington now includes those in Phase 1B, tiers 3 and 4. Anyone who was eligible in an earlier phase or tier remains eligible.

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