Washington hits 67.2% vaccination rate, Inslee says to stay the course

Washington
Ted S. Warren
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks before signing a bill into law in Tukwila, Wash., Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As Washington state approaches its June 30 re-opening deadline, Governor Jay Inslee is encouraging Washingtonians to stay the course and continue the effort to keep the state safe.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office, 67.2% of Washingtonians age 16+, which accounts for the entire eligible population, have been vaccinated. 4,129,165 of the estimated 6,144,281 eligible Washington state residents are included in that total. This rate is separate from the data tallied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Our state uses data for people age 16 and up; the federal government uses data for ages 18 and up. We use the most recent Census data from 2020; the federal government uses older data,” Governor Inslee said. “Washington state has been calculating data the same way throughout this process. This provides the most complete, accurate, and transparent data on vaccination rates.

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That CDC data shows that 71.7% of the state population age 18 and older has received a COVID-19 vaccine. However, this won’t suffice for the state’s target of 70% because it does not include people age 16 and 17, who are statistically amongst the group most likely to spread COVID-19.

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

State leaders have taken every measure possible to ensure that Washingtonians get vaccinated. Most recently, the state has initiated the ‘Shot of a Lifetime’ campaign in which Washington residents who have initiated vaccination become eligible to win cash prizes, gift cards, tech, scholarships, and more prizes.

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As soon as 70% of Washington state’s eligible population initiates vaccination, the state will fully re-open. This means full indoor capacity at businesses, reduced masking guidance, and more.

“Many people, myself included, are eager for our state to fully reopen. I have said repeatedly we are going to do this on June 30 or when we hit 70% of people 16 and up initiating vaccinations – whichever happens first. We use age 16 and up as that population was eligible when we made the announcement,” Inslee said.

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