COVID-19 vaccine distribution update from the Washington State Department of Health

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with their COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

Last week, providers across the state began administering initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to high-risk health workers, and now, more than 30,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered. They are thrilled with this progress in such a short time.

This week, the Department of Health allocated 44,850 Pfizer doses and 127,900 Moderna doses. That includes:

  • 153,925 doses distributed to more than 220 sites in 37 counties
  • 18,825 doses distributed to support long-term care facilities as well as 14 Tribes and Urban Indian Health Programs

Many of this week’s shipments are arriving today by 4:30 p.m.

Here’s how the allocation breaks down by county this week:

Over the next several weeks, there will continue to be a limited supply of the vaccine. Additionally, the vaccine will not be delivered on Christmas or New Year’s Day. In early 2021, they hope to move to a consistent ordering and delivery pattern to continue the growth of COVID-19 vaccine availability in Washington state.

Vaccine prioritization

Last weekend a key CDC advisory committee voted on vaccine prioritization for later phases. This will help shape who gets the vaccine in the coming months. The federal guidance is the framework for Washington state to decide who will be eligible for vaccine next.  Those prioritization decisions have not been finalized yet here in Washington state. Once those decisions are made at a state level, the information will be shared.

Moderna vaccine

A second COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, was authorized for emergency use in individuals aged 18 and older, by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccine also passed independent review by medical experts in the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, as part of the Western States Pact. This is a two-dose vaccine, given 28 days apart. Clinical trial data show the vaccine is about 94 percent effective after two doses.

Washington state placed an order for 128,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on the morning of December 21. There is no confirmation yet specifying when these orders will be delivered. The first allocation of the Moderna vaccine is 44,300 doses.

The Moderna vaccine will be delivered in a staggered fashion throughout each week, and unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, cold storage and handling are similar to other routinely used vaccines. This will help to distribute the vaccine to many more providers across the state.

Reduced Pfizer vaccine allocation

Regarding our state’s reduced allocation of the Pfizer vaccine: The state learned since last week that prior allocations were inadvertently based on vaccine doses produced — not all of which had yet completed the quality control process. The vaccine cannot be released before quality control is complete. This discrepancy was the source of the change in allocations.

For the foreseeable future, the state will get its allocation on a week-by-week basis. The federal government has shared that the vaccine supply will increase each month. Our state’s allocation of the Pfizer vaccine is 57,525 doses for this week.

Long-term care facility vaccination program update

One long-term care pharmacy, registered through the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine provider program, began vaccinations at several facilities on December 21. The state expects that facilities registered through the CDC’s long-term care program will begin vaccinations on the date previously communicated, December 28. This is the first date the national partnership for the long-term care program could be activated due to the large volume of vaccines needed.

The Department of Health is exploring a dashboard to share vaccine administration data, and until that launches, they will continue to provide vaccine administration updates in their weekly updates.

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  • I am 80yrs old. When will I be able to get my vaccination? Where will I get it? I live in King County.

  • I wish I could tell you John. I don’t think the order of vaccinations after group 1A (nursing home residents, Health Care Professionals and first responders) has been decided yet. All I can tell you is I will write about it when they do decide and to keep in contact with your primary care physician

  • I, too, am wondering when my turn will come to receive the vaccine. I am 69 with underlying health conditions and my primary care physician has been of no help. Thank you for keeping folks up to date! Very much appreciated.

  • How come Benton county received 4,700 doses this week and Yakima county only received 1,500? Yakima has a higher population. Demographics?

    1. As far as I can tell (and I don’t pretend to be an expert by any means) is that the original allotments were to be in 975, 1950 or 3700 doses per location in the 37 counties participating in vaccine distribution. Then the allotment was reduced by 40% You can see the first allotment chart here

      I’m not sure how the allotments are decided but likely demographics have a big role

      1. Hi Melissa, thank you for the QUICK response! Your attachment shows an additional quantity of 1,950 for this week. That helps a lot! The reason I was asking is my mother-in-law is 98 and in a nursing home and she is curious about the rollout. I’ve told her she should receive the first vaccine by the end of January. Thanks again for being on top of things!
        Kent Persson

  • Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful reporting. This is the only article I have read anywhere that is really focusing on the numbers. There seems to be recriminations in Washington DC between Government and State around who is to blame. Who cares in the short term. What can we do here in Washington today, tomorrow, etc. Did someone actually think the federal government was going to help given the testing debacle. Please stay on top of this. Ask directly, what is Inslee personally doing to make sure this rollout is the most critical and important thing ever attempted by this state. If someone was killing 100s of people a day, I am sure we would mobilize every bit of state resources to stop it. Is our state constrained at all by state distribution (e.g. we have been delivered the doses but they have not been given to people yet)? Every vial sitting in a refrigerator not being distributed could reflect a death in the coming weeks. It is that critical. I could be wrong, but it really feels like the urgency is lacking. I saw Inslee’s last tweet was congratulating the Seahawks. Thanks Jay, way to focus on what is important.

  • I completely agree, Ken. Why are we not hearing more? Why do we not know how the vaccine is being prioritized? I am in a high-risk category, so I pray each day for more comprehensive news for so many who are waiting, and yet it is not forthcoming. This is the only place where I have actually found some cohesive and helpful information.

  • I recently contacted my primary care physicians office with one fairly straight forward question – when the vaccine distribution reaches my category (69 and ticking virtually every pre-existing condition) how will I be notified I’m at the top of the batting order? Response, “no idea, waiting for state guidance”. This was last week. Really? I not asking for an immediate spot in line…just what line I should be in.

    1. I believe that’s because who is in group 1b has not been determined yet. There are approximately 500,000 people in group 1a and Washington State was expected to receive between 150,000 to 350,000 doses in December and between 500,000 and 1,000,000 in January. So its estimated it will be at least the middle of January before the first group is finished at which point they’ll announce the decision on group 1b. The CDC gives guidelines on who it should be but ultimately the states have the final decision. So likely your PCP really doesn’t know

  • I’m curious, if the state is going by the federal guidelines for the framework in phases 1b and 1c, would that put essential workers like postal employees in 1b? I know federal guidelines are pushing that, but the state hasn’t released their framework yet?

    1. Yes according to the Federal Guidelines. Who knows what the state will do. Here is a link

  • FYI I do have the vaccine numbers for ordered, in transit, received, administered and still to be given. I can’t post it in the comments but you can email me at if you’d like to see those numbers

  • I, like so many other 85 year olds with underlying conditions & with a spouse of 92, would like to know how we will find out when we are actually in line for vaccination of the Covid 19 vaccine, and how will we find out? Neither one of us can wait in long lines (or any lines for that matter!). Will appointments be available and where? Surely the state now has this information!!!!!

  • I am 70 with a heart condition and my husband is 68. We want to get vaccinated ASAP. He was exposed to COVID at work and we are now quarantined at home. We live in Burien. When and where can we get vaccinated?

  • If you look at the last update I posted you’ll see that the state updated the first tier of phase 1A to include all assisted living facilities. That wasn’t previously in the first tier I’ll post the link at the end of my comment. So if either of you live in a congregate setting like that, it should be coming soon. After that the second tier of phase 1A is all workers in a Health Care setting. They still have not yet announced beyond that.

  • We now have a much more contagious version of the virus, which means that less exposure is needed to get the disease. That means that prioritization of who gets vaccinated should NOT be based on exposure risk, the risk of developing disease is not dependent on that. Prioritization should be based on risk of developing serious or life threatening disease. That means that older folks or people with diabetes should get priority. It is fairer, simpler and easier just to use age as the basis. In that case the job would get done faster and everybody would be better off. My two cents.

  • I am 68, I have asthma, and my husband is 70. I don’t see when I will be allowed to get the vaccine. I live in Clark County.

  • Living Snoqualmie