Gov. Inslee: Washington ‘staying the course,’ won’t rush reopening

Jun 15, 2021, 4:45 PM | Updated: 5:07 pm
Jay Inslee, reopen, vaccine requirements...
Governor Jay Inslee speaks before a crowd in Tukwilla, WA.

While Washington continues to inch toward the vaccine threshold needed to reopen ahead of schedule, Gov. Jay Inslee reiterated that he does not plan to rush that process in the interim.

Gov. Inslee: Washington ‘close’ to being able to reopen ahead of schedule

In order to reopen prior to June 30, 70% of state residents ages 16 and up would need to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But currently, state and federal data differs on where exactly Washington stands on the road to that threshold.

Confusion first began to surface on June 6, when White House senior advisor Andy Slavitt took to Twitter to congratulate the state for appearing to have reached its goal, while state-level data indicated that Washington sat around 64% at the time.

That discrepancy is partly driven by the fact that the state uses 2020 population data from its own Office of Financial Management, while the federal government uses data from 2019. The federal government also receives vaccine data from the Department of Defense, Veteran Affairs, the Bureau of Prisons, and other federal agencies, which has not been shared with the state Department of Health.

As of Tuesday, state data indicates that just over 67% of residents have started the vaccination process, technically putting it under the requisite benchmark to reopen ahead of June 30. Despite the continued discrepancy between state and federal numbers, Gov. Inslee indicated on Tuesday that Washington will still use its own totals to determine when to reopen, with data it “has access to and can verify.”

Republican leaders again call on Gov. Inslee to fully reopen Washington

“For those who would advocate changing our strategy, we are on the two-yard line,” he said in a written release. “We are not going to change the game plan now. We are going to see this through.

“Washington state has been calculating data the same way throughout this process,” he added. “This provides the most complete, accurate and transparent data on vaccination rates.”

At the local level, King County reported Tuesday that 70% of residents ages 16 and up have now finished their vaccination series. Seattle crested a similar milestone the previous week for residents ages 12 and up.

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Gov. Inslee: Washington ‘staying the course,’ won’t rush reopening