COVID-19 Vaccine: Who goes next + finding your ‘place in line’
You don't "sign up" or "get in line" for a shot. Here's what you can do (other than sit tight and wait).
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine next? Where do I sign up? How do I get in line? A look at Washington and Oregon vaccine rollouts and what you should know:
First, counties do not decide who gets vaccinated or when; this is up to the state. Also, even though the CDC has vaccine recommendations, states are deciding how to go about giving people shots.
Washington is in Phase 1A (high-risk healthcare workers, first responders, and nursing home residents and workers). The Washington State Department of Health laid out last week who’s in Phase 1B and hopes to move to 1B this month.
Within the phases are separate tiers. Phase 1B has four tiers:
Phase 1B1 – (Tier 1) – estimated start mid-January
- All people 70 years and older
- People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households
Phase 1B2 – (Tier 2) – estimated start in February
- High risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings: Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); childcare; corrections, prisons, jails or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement
Phase 1B3 – (Tier 3) – estimated start in March
- People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions
Phase 1B4 – (Tier 4) – estimated start in April
- High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings under 50 years
- People, staff and volunteers all ages in congregate living settings:
- Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; people experiencing homelessness that live in or access services in congregate settings
The DOH says it worked with the governor’s office and used focus groups, interviews, and surveys with nearly 20,000 Washingtonians in order to come up with the prioritization.
“Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based in a need for equitable distribution,” says Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah. “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.”
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DOH plans to tell local communities how and where to get vaccines once Phase 1B begins. However, there is something you can do in the meantime:
Washington has released an online tool designed to tell you if you’re eligible for the vaccine and, if so, during which phase. It’s a questionnaire called “Phase Finder”: go to findyourphasewa.org, answer basic questions about yourself, fill out some contact information (which will remain private, the state says), and the DOH will text or email you when you can get the vaccine.
Amid the vaccine rollout is Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, Healthy Washington. We’re in Phase 1 of the plan.
The state’s eight regions will be in Phase 1 until January 18 (subject to extension), according to the governor.
“We know that all Washingtonians want to move forward as quickly as possible with respect to COVID-19,” said Dr. Shah. “However, these metrics show that we are just not ready to do so now.”
Staying the same or moving forward aren’t the only possibilities. Some regions may have to move back a phase.
Nearly 100,000 vaccines have been administered in the state, according to a dashboard set up on the state’s vaccine webpage, however there are another 400,000 healthcare workers who still need shots. Some 4.2 million people live in Oregon.
The Oregon Health Authority has laid out who’s next in Phase 1B, Phase 1C and Phase 2:
Education workers will be the focus after healthcare workers are vaccinated. There is a COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee working on who’s next in line after that. The committee’s members just met for the first time last Thursday.
Unlike Washington, there is no system — planned or in place — for Oregonians to “get in line” or be notified about when they can be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The National Guard in the northwest states is being mobilized to help distribute vaccines.
We’ll keep you updated on any mass-vaccination clinics, notification methods, and what to do after you get the green light to be vaccinated.
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