Washington averaging 28,000 COVID-19 vaccinations a day

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state is averaging about 28,000 COVID-19 vaccinations a day, and as of this week, more than 728,000 vaccine doses have been administered statewide.

Department of Health Secretary Umair Shah said Thursday that the state continues to make progress to get closer to the goal of giving 45,000 vaccines a day.

“We all know that we have a lot of work still ahead,” he said during the department’s weekly news conference. “We are steadily improving these numbers as our allocations increase.”

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Last month, the state moved into Phase 1B on the vaccination schedule, which was modified to lower the age of eligibility from 70 to 65. Phase 1B also includes those age 50 and older who live in multigenerational homes.

In December, the state started vaccinating health care workers, high-risk first responders and people living or working in nursing homes. Later tiers of Phase 2 will include people 50 and older who work in congregate settings like agriculture or grocery stores, and those 16 or older with underlying medical conditions. While Phases 2, 3 and 4 were initially expected to begin in May, the state is now predicting a start date of summer or fall and has not yet distinguished the eligibility qualifications for each phase.

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The U.S. has recorded more than 26.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 452,000 deaths. There have been more than 300,000 cases in Washington state and 4,316 deaths.

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, although long-term effects are unknown. But for some, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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