Inslee announces state plan for widespread vaccine distribution and administration

Gov. Jay Inslee Monday announced an updated statewide vaccine distribution and administration plan to increase the number of Washingtonians vaccinated and establish infrastructure capable of mass vaccinations in the coming months. With the expanded vaccine distribution system, the state set a goal of vaccinating 45,000 Washingtonians per day.

Included in the plan is the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, a new statewide public-private partnership to boost vaccine distribution efforts. The collaboration includes Washington corporations, labor unions, health care groups and government entities.

“We are removing as many impediments as possible to Washingtonians getting vaccinated, we are going to deliver every dose that comes into our state,” Inslee said during a press conference Monday. “We will still be dependent on the federal government for doses, but we are doing everything we can once it gets here.”

The new WSVCCC will be staffed by the Department of Health   in partnership with Washington business and labor leaders. The public-private partnership will support DOH and the secretary in constructing an infrastructure and coordinating available resources to deliver vaccines across the state as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Each stakeholder in the WSVCCC’s broad coalition will focus on a different facet of vaccine distribution. This includes logistic coordination, allocation strategies, infrastructure support and development, and cross-organizational and agency operational communications.

Some stakeholder responsibilities include:

  • Kaiser Permanente: planning expertise for mass vaccination clinics and the distribution of vaccine to health care providers throughout the state.
  • Starbucks: operational efficiency, scalable modeling and human-centered design expertise and support.
  • Microsoft: technology expertise and support.
  • Costco: vaccine delivery by pharmacies.
  • SEIU 1199NW: coordination of volunteer vaccinators to locations where they are most needed.
  • UFCW 21: staffing and training coordination of vaccinators.
  • WSNA: safety and health consultation for providers.
  • SeaMar: voice for historically underserved communities
  • National Guard: logistics and infrastructure support

The goal is for these partners to reach the state’s daily vaccination goal of 45,000. This number is above the current federal allocation for the state but will hopefully be met as manufacturing ramps up in the coming weeks and months, the governor’s office said. Additionally, putting the infrastructure in place to be able to meet this goal will ensure that the state is ready to effectively distribute vaccines once dosages sent to states is increased.

To meet the state’s vaccination goals and ensure Washingtonians’ access, the governor announced several changes to both distribution phases and state infrastructure. The changes include:

1) Update to vaccine distribution phase

Effective immediately, the first tier of Phase 1b for vaccine distribution is changing to include those who are 65 and older.

The change aligns with new federal guidance from the CDC and makes the vaccine more accessible to more people in high-risk categories. Additionally, the state will allow providers flexibility for Phase 1B tier 2 through tier 4 eligible individuals to allow for easier administration of the vaccine in congregate settings and workplaces to help increase the throughput. Once we have administered first doses to at least 50% of the individuals in Phase 1B tier 1, we will move to Phase 1B tier 2.

2) Reporting requirements

Also effective immediately is a new requirement for providers administering vaccines, mandating that 95% of vaccine allocations be administered within a week of receipt, and every does acquired prior to this week must be administered by Jan. 24.

Providers must submit vaccine data to the state within 24 hours of administration and starting tomorrow, daily information on dosages (i.e. quantity on hand, number administered) must be submitted to the Department of Health.

3) Infrastructure for increased vaccinations

To assist in the administration of vaccine doses currently on hand, DOH will coordinate volunteer vaccinators to support vaccine administration in Spokane, Kennewick and Bellevue. DOH will also connect with all vaccine administrators across the state to assess where additional assistance is needed to meet the new requirements.

The state will also be establishing multiple high-vaccination sites to prepare for future vaccine allocations. Some of the sites will build upon existing infrastructure. DOH will coordinate with local health officials and the National Guard to set up the sites.

Four sites will be set up to begin vaccine administration starting next week: Spokane Arena in Spokane, the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick; Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee; and the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield.

Vaccines allocated after Jan. 25 will be equally distributed between these sites and local clinics and pharmacies to begin vaccinating Washingtonians in Phase 1b.

The Department of Health Monday also announced their new Phase Finder tool, designed to help Washingtonians find out if they are eligible for a COVID vaccine now or if not, sign up to be notified when they become eligible.

You can access it at: http://findyourphasewa.org.

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