Gov. Jay Inslee today announced an updated statewide vaccine distribution and administration plan to increase the number of Washingtonians vaccinated and establish infrastructure capable of mass vaccinations in the coming months. With the expanded vaccine distribution system, the state set a goal of vaccinating 45,000 Washingtonians per day.
Included in the plan is the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, a new statewide public-private partnership to boost vaccine distribution efforts. The collaboration includes Washington corporations, labor unions, health care groups and government entities.
“This is a massive effort, and as noble as any cause will be in 2021: Because this is the year we choose to get vaccinated, Washington,” Inslee said during a press conference Monday. “We are removing as many impediments as possible to Washingtonians getting vaccinated, we are going to deliver every dose that comes into our state. We will still be dependent on the federal government for doses, but we are doing everything we can once it gets here.”
Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center (WSVCCC)
The new WSVCCC will be staffed by the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with Washington business and labor leaders. The public-private partnership will support DOH and the secretary in constructing an infrastructure and coordinating available resources to deliver vaccines across the state as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Each stakeholder in the WSVCCC’s broad coalition will focus on a different facet of vaccine distribution. This includes logistic coordination, allocation strategies, infrastructure support and development, and cross-organizational and agency operational communications.
Some stakeholder responsibilities include:
- Kaiser Permanente: planning expertise for mass vaccination clinics and the distribution of vaccine to healthcare providers throughout the state.
- Starbucks: operational efficiency, scalable modeling and human-centered design expertise and support.
- Microsoft: technology expertise and support.
- Costco: vaccine delivery by pharmacies.
- SEIU 1199NW: coordination of volunteer vaccinators to locations where they are most needed.
- UFCW 21: staffing and training coordination of vaccinators.
- WSNA: safety and health consultation for providers.
- SeaMar: voice for historically underserved communities
- National Guard: logistics and infrastructure support
Together, this partnership will work to reach the state’s daily vaccination goal of 45,000. This number is above the current federal allocation for the state but will hopefully be met as manufacturing ramps up in the coming weeks and months. Additionally, putting the infrastructure in place to be able to meet this goal will ensure that the state is ready to effectively distribute vaccines once dosages sent to states is increased.
“Kaiser Permanente Washington is honored to be a part of the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center. We come together to launch this true public and private partnership among Washington health care organizations and our state’s business community, to align and deliver the most effective and safe path to COVID-19 vaccination for all Washingtonians,” stated Susan Mullaney, president, Kaiser Permanente Washington.
“Today we are speeding up the process of getting vaccine to the people of Washington.” said Dr. Umair Shah, secretary of the Washington State Department of Health. “This is a huge undertaking — no one can do it alone. Together, with the measures Governor Inslee and others have announced, we pledge to make the forward progress the people of Washington deserve to get COVID-19 under control and protect everyone with this life-saving vaccine.”
To meet the state’s vaccination goals and ensure Washingtonians’ access, the governor announced several changes to both distribution phases and state infrastructure. The changes include:
1) Update to vaccine distribution phases
Effective immediately, the first tier of Phase 1b for vaccine distribution is changing to include those who are 65 and older.
The change aligns with new federal guidance from the CDC and makes the vaccine more accessible to more people in high-risk categories. Additionally, the state will allow providers flexibility for Phase 1B tier 2 through tier 4 eligible individuals to allow for easier administration of the vaccine in congregate settings and workplaces to help increase the throughput. Once we have administered first doses to at least 50% of the individuals in Phase 1B tier 1, we will move to Phase 1B tier 2.
2) Reporting requirements
Also effective immediately, is a new requirement for providers administering vaccines, mandating that 95% of vaccine allocations be administered within a week of receipt, and every does acquired prior to this week must be administered by Jan. 24.
Providers must submit vaccine data to the state within 24 hours of administration and starting tomorrow, daily information on dosages (i.e. quantity on hand, number administered) must be submitted to the Department of Health.
3) Infrastructure for increased vaccinations
To assist in the administration of vaccine doses currently on hand, DOH will coordinate volunteer vaccinators to support vaccine administration in Spokane, Kennewick and Bellevue. DOH will also connect with all vaccine administrators across the state to assess where additional assistance is needed to meet the new requirements.
The state will also be establishing multiple high-vaccination sites to prepare for future vaccine allocations. Some of the sites will build upon existing infrastructure. DOH will coordinate with local health officials and the National Guard to set up the sites.
Four sites will be set up to begin vaccine administration starting next week: Spokane Arena in Spokane, the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick; Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee; and the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield.
Rogelio Riojas, president and CEO of SeaMar Community Health Centers said that this infrastructural growth is necessary to protect all Washingtonians.
“We need to expand our efforts and work seven days a week on our vaccination plans to defeat this dreaded virus,” Riojas said. “Essential workers, especially farm workers and people of color, are disproportionately getting sick and dying because they cannot work from home. We must get them vaccinated.”
Vaccines allocated after January 25 will be equally distributed between these sites and local clinics and pharmacies to begin vaccinating Washingtonians in Phase 1b.
“Our state should be proud of the example we have set and, more importantly, the lives we have saved. It did not happen by accident,” Inslee said. “It happened because Washingtonians’ sound, science-based, responsible actions as individuals. Everyone can take some measure of pride in how well we have cared for others in these frightening times.
“And we will continue to lead.”
The Department of Health also announced their new Phase Finder tool, designed to help Washingtonians find out if they are eligible for a COVID vaccine now or if not, sign up to be notified when they become eligible.
You can access it at: http://findyourphasewa.org/.