OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.
As of May 17, more than 6,424,110 doses of vaccine have been given across the state, which is nearly 84% of the 7,664,240 doses that have been delivered to our providers and federal partnership programs. More than 47% of people in Washington 16 years and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 59% of people 16 and older have received at least one dose. This information can be found on the DOH data dashboard under the vaccines tab, which is updated three times per week.
Everyone 12+ eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
For the first time, we are getting a look at how many 12 to 15-year-olds are being vaccinated in Washington since eligibility expanded to the younger age group May 13. Between Thursday and Sunday, 27,934 people age 12 to 15-years-old received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Washington state, which is 7.4% of that population and more than double the national average vaccination rate of 3.6% for 12 to 15-year-olds. DOH is proud thousands of families are choosing to get their children vaccinated to protect them and help us stop the virus from spreading.
The Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be safe and extremely effective. People who get their first dose of vaccine this week will be fully vaccinated around the time summer break begins. While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. We are still learning about potential long-term side effects of COVID-19 disease for children, which is another reason why vaccination is important. Vaccinating older children and adults will also help protect those too young to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine has become even more convenient, especially for older children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time they receive other vaccines. Experts hope the recommendations encourage people to catch up on other vaccinations they may have missed during the pandemic. Parents can get their children’s school vaccinations at the same time, which saves an extra trip the doctor’s office.
Keep track of your COVID-19 vaccination record
Once you are vaccinated, is important to keep track of your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. It is an official record that may be needed for travel, event access, or possibly booster doses down the road. Some businesses and organizations are also offering incentives for those who provide proof of vaccination. We recommend taking a picture of both the front and back of your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or create a photocopy to carry with you.
If you misplaced your card, you can get official, verified proof of vaccination by signing up for MyIR, which is the state’s free immunization records website. Getting verification through this website will take some time, so please visit the website and get your certification before you leave home to allow yourself time to work through the process. Those with questions can call the Washington State Office of Immunization and Child Profile at 360-236-3595.
Vaccine marketplace and allocation
This week DOH kicked off a creative strategy put in place to help ensure extra doses of vaccine are getting used statewide. The program is called Vaccine Marketplace, and it is similar to Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, but designed strictly for providers who use the state’s Immunization Information System (IIS). Providers with extra doses can now share that information on the vaccine marketplace. Before placing weekly vaccine orders, we strongly encourage providers to check the IIS marketplace to see if there is vaccine already available near them. The program will help with vaccine transfers and reduce vaccine waste.
Our allocation forecast from the federal government continues to show Washington will be allocated more than 380,000 doses of vaccine next week. In addition to this allocation, our state is receiving multiple streams of vaccine each week through channels, like the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Vaccine supply continues to be plentiful and allocation has caught up with demand. We encourage everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated today to ensure they can fully enjoy the summer safely and, in most places, without a mask.
If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine please reach out to your healthcare provider or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. To find vaccine near you, you can use the state’s Vaccine Locator website, text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) or VACUNA (822862) to receive addresses of nearby available vaccination sites, or you can call our COVID-19 vaccination number 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available.