Washington Secretary of Health: “Everyone 16+ will be eligible for the Vaccine by May 1”

Image Credit: SE Washington Interagency Team
Dr. Umair Shah visits the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick, Washington on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Umair Shah, confirmed that the state will follow President Joe Biden’s directive to make all Americans age 16+ eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. After rumors swirled in recent days, the state Department of Health’s leading voice confirms the state’s intentions.

RELATED: Benton County Fairgrounds surpass 40,000 vaccinations

Washington state has been extremely successful with its vaccination efforts to date. Just yesterday, the state hit 1 million vaccine doses administered, according to officials from the Benton County Fairgrounds mass vaccination site. Locally, the Benton County site officially surpassed 40,000 vaccine doses administered.

Dr. Shah continued his tweet thread by providing some statistical evidence about the state’s dire COVID-19 situation. To date, he says that there have been 335,606 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington state. Additionally, there have been 5,200 deaths to COVID-19 complications in that time.

Since March 11, the average number of daily cases in the state has dropped to 654. Though it is a decline from previously, this falls in line with the COVID-19 rates from October 2020, just before the massive end-of-year COVID-19 spike.

According to Dr. Shah, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise once again. From January until mid-March, there was a steady decline in coronavirus hospitalizations in the state. Now, it’s trending in the opposite direction once again despite COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Washington state is taking this very seriously. If COVID-19 transmission rates and other key indicators continue to stack up, the state will revert back to Phase 2 of re-opening in which indoor dining capacity will drop back down to 25%. While the tides are turning in the fight against COVID-19, there is plenty of work to be done before the state can move forward completely.


RELATED: Benton County Fairgrounds announce adjusted schedule, appointments available now