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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: January 14, 2021

Whatcom County Vaccine Update 1/14/2021

While we are still currently in Phase 1A, Washington State Department Of Health (DOH) announced yesterday, January 13, that we will be moving to Phase 1B “in a matter of days.” We will provide an update when Whatcom County enters Phase 1B. 

Phase 1B will begin with Tier 1 and proceed through three other tiers described below. During Phase 1B, all of those Phase 1A-eligible individuals not yet vaccinated will continue to be eligible for vaccination.

Who is in Phase 1A and Phase 1B?

Phase 1A includes:

  • Healthcare workers at the highest risk of getting or passing on COVID-19.
  • This includes caregivers or other workers with direct patient contact in settings like the hospital, home health care, assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, urgent care clinics, or COVID-19 testing sites. 
  • First responders working in emergency medical services at high risk of exposure to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients via high public exposure and procedures. 
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
  • All other workers at risk in health care settings.

Right now, anyone in Phase 1a should get vaccinated.

Phase 1B includes 4 Tiers:

Phase 1B Tier 1

  • All people 70 years and older

  • People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households

Phase 1B Tier 2

  • High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in certain congregate settings. Some examples of these settings are:

    • Agriculture, food processing, grocery stores.

    • K-12 (educators & staff), childcare.

    • Corrections, prisons, jails, or detention centers.

    • Public transit.

    • Fire, law enforcement.

Phase 1B Tier 3

  • People 16 years and older with two or more underlying conditions that put them at greater risk 

Phase 1B Tier 4

  • High risk critical workers under age 50 in certain congregate settings (as noted above in Tier 2).

  • People (residents, staff, volunteers) in group living settings (e.g. correction facilities, prisons, jails, detention centers, group homes for people with disabilities) and people experiencing homelessness that access services or live in shelters, temporary housing, or other congregate settings.

For full details of both Phase 1A and Phase 1B groups, read the Washington State Vaccine Prioritization Guidance or check out this infographic.

Vaccine Allocation

For Washington State vaccine allocation information, see the most recent press release from DOH.

As of January 13, there have been just over 9,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine allocated to providers in Whatcom County. This number includes 800 doses that are being shipped this week.

  • We estimate there are between 14,000-16,000 Phase 1A Tier 1 workers in Whatcom County.
  • We have received enough doses of vaccine to give one dose to about 60% of Phase 1A Tier 1 workers.
  • There are 17 vaccination sites that have been approved by DOH as enrolled providers. 
  • Over 35 additional sites have pending applications to be enrolled providers. 

Washington State Department of Health will begin to publish vaccination statistics on the COVID-19 data dashboard in the coming week. This will include the following information:

  • Number of first and second doses of the vaccine provided.
  • Percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated so far.
  • Doses administered by date. 

Next Steps

Several large healthcare providers in our community have all committed to collaborating on implementing large-scale community vaccine clinics that would be open to anyone in the current phase of vaccination.

  • This commitment is an important first step, and we applaud and are grateful for the way these healthcare providers have stepped up to the challenge of getting our community vaccinated.
  • We are in the very early stages of planning for this, and we’ll share more details in the coming weeks.

Information about vaccines is changing quickly and we strive to provide the most reliable and accurate update in a timely way. You can expect more updates from us and from the Washington State Department of Health as soon as we are able to provide solid information for you.

For the most up-to-date information, check our website frequently for the latest details. 

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