Vaccine Distribution in Washington

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 Pandemic started in late December, affecting many Americans. Over the past months, scientists have developed a vaccine and began human trials to see the vaccine’s side effects and safety. According to the Washington State Department of health, “two vaccines are authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” Both vaccines are currently being distributed in Washington state. The vaccine is being rolled out in phases starting with those most at risk for COVID-19 infection. 

According to The Washington State Department of Health there are two mechanisms that are used to distribute the vaccines, one is a centralized distributor which they see through their childhood vaccine program, and the other is direct shipment to Indian Health Services clinics; pharmacy chains; and large multi-state healthcare systems. “The vaccine is available to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household. This in addition to populations eligible during phase 1A including health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19,”  Stated the Washington state Department of Health. There have been some difficulties when it comes to distributing the vaccine to people in need.

According to the Washington State Health Department, “There are many essential workers and people at high risk for COVID-19 in our state. Even with this increase, we don’t yet have enough vaccine supply for everyone who needs it. We are working to balance those needs with available supply and make sure we’re distributing vaccines in an equitable way.” One other difficulty is convincing minorities to get the vaccine. According to the Seattle Times, “Black and Hispanic residents have tested positive for the coronavirus at a higher rate compared to White residents, but vaccination numbers haven’t matched each group’s vulnerability.” While 67 percent of people who received their initial doses were White, Black and Hispanic residents have been comparatively under-vaccinated. Just 5 percent of people receiving an initial dose were Hispanic, while 32 percent of people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been Hispanic. Black residents have received 2 percent of the initial doses, but they account for 6 percent of cases. 

As of February 4, 2021, the Department of Health has an update on the vaccine distribution, it states, “as of February.  1,773,346 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than 60 percent of the 1,160,850 doses delivered to providers and long-term care programs across the state. Currently, Washington is averaging 27,902 vaccine doses given per day, inching closer to our goal of vaccinating 45,000 people per day. Although there are still some struggles when it comes to the demand of the vaccine, “We are still in a place right now where demand for vaccines greatly outpaces the amount of vaccine we have available. This week, more than 600 facilities requested more than 358,000 first doses of vaccine. Our first-dose allocation from the federal government was only 107,125 doses, which is less than one-third of what providers asked for. We also had more requests for second dose allocations than our allocation from the federal government.” Researchers believe that if more people get the vaccine it would help slow the spread of Covid-19 and assist in ending the pandemic.

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