OLYMPIA, Wash. - Governor Jay Inslee announced on Monday that Washington state will expand access to COVID-19 vaccines to include 65-year-olds. Those who are 50 years and older living in multi-generational households are also eligible.
The state is now advancing to Phase 1b of its vaccine roadmap. Initially, health officials planned on limiting distribution to 70-year-olds.
The governor also said the state will be open to more flexibility when it comes to the plan going forward.
As of last week, Washington ranked 26th in the nation for vaccine distribution, slightly above the national average but far from stellar.
There's also confusion among states over how many more vaccine shipments are coming and when states will receive them.
Inslee said there will soon be 45,000 vaccinations available every day, as soon as possible. This is higher than the current federal allocation– currently, the state is vaccinating 13,000 to 15,000 people a day.
To put pressure on local providers, Inslee announced that providers must use 95% of the doses allocated within the first week. Doses received before this week must be used by Jan. 24.
The governor also announced that mass vaccination sites will be coming soon statewide. Some of the sites that will be part of the initial kick-off are the Spokane Arena Toyota Town Center, Wenatchee Benton County Fairgrounds, and Clark County Fairgrounds. This starts next week.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said they will let local hospitals use buildings on the Microsoft campus to administer vaccines to the public.