Nearly 5 million Washingtonians eligible for COVID vaccine starting Wednesday

As of Wednesday, about 5 million of the state’s more than 7.6 million residents will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest tier expansion was announced by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this month. Starting Wednesday, eligibility will be extended to those 16 and older with two or more comorbidities, anyone between the ages of 60 and 64, and workers age 16 and older who work in restaurants, manufacturing and construction. In addition, those living in congregate settings like correctional facilities or group homes for disabilities, or those experiencing homeless will now also be eligible for a vaccine.

The latest tier builds upon previous tiers that started with vaccinating health care workers, first responders and those in nursing homes in December, and later included the elderly, teachers and those who work in grocery stores.

That leaves about 1.2 million more who are not yet eligible, excluding kids under age 16. Inslee has said that the remainder will be eligible by May 1, a federal deadline set by President Joe Biden. Many states have moved to lift eligibility requirements sooner, but Inslee has said he wants to ensure the most vulnerable receive the shot before eligibility opens to everyone.

RELATED: Biden says 90% of adults will be eligible for COVID vaccine in 3 weeks

More than 3.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered to date, and more than 16% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, including those vaccinated by the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More than 27% have received at least one dose of the vaccines that require two shots, by Pfizer and Moderna.

The U.S. has recorded more than 30.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 550,000 deaths. There have been more than 339,000 cases in Washington state, and 5,226 deaths.

At the same time, the state of Washington will be doing away with its vaccine tier finder online. Phase Finder, the state’s online vaccine eligibility tool, will no longer be required to verify COVID-19 vaccine eligibility starting March 31.

That means that people who want a vaccine should check DOH’s prioritization guidance webpage to see when they are eligible to get vaccinated. Those who are eligible can then use Vaccine Locator to find an appointment.

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