Where we go next is up to us

By: Rachel Smith Posted: 04/19/2021

Learn more about new vaccine eligibility phases, the Roadmap to Recovery update, and more

As of April 15, all adults 16 and older in Washington state are eligible for the vaccine. This is a complex moment punctuated by the dual realities of earned optimism (an exponentially, ever-expanding percentage of the population getting vaccinated) and continued caution (a potential for infection rates to increase in the remaining unvaccinated population).

So far, the Chamber has supported 11 vaccine clinics in Bellevue, White Center, Everett and Tacoma. In the coming weeks, we’ll host clinics in Mountlake Terrace, Bothell, Georgetown, Capitol Hill and Tukwila. We expect to get more than 17,000 doses in arms of those around the region by mid-May.

New Vaccine Eligibility Phase

Starting April 15, about 650,000 more people in our county will now be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This is good news and the county wants to remind everyone to remain patient during this time. For the next several weeks, there will continue to be greater demand than supply of the vaccine. Over the next 1-2 months, the county said there will be adequate supply of vaccine for everyone 16 and older.

The Washington State Department of Health had anticipated an increase in vaccine supply when it took steps forward to reopen our economy. However, King County said it has since learned the national supply will not increase for the next several weeks, and here in our area this means less than half of the doses ordered will arrive.

This large mismatch between supply and demand will make it harder for everyone who is eligible to get scheduled for vaccination as soon as planned.

What else would be good to know?

  • Anyone aged 18 and older can get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also authorized for people ages 18 and older but is on pause until further notice.
  • For those aged 16 and 17, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized.

For more information:

Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery Update, Reminders

On April 9, the governor clarified the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the state’s Healthy Washington reopening plan. Now, a county will move back one phase if it fails both case count and hospitalization metrics.

King County remains in Phase 3, as the infection rate and hospitalizations had risen precipitously, but remained just below the Phase 2 cutoffs. As of April 4, King County’s rates were as follows:

  • The 14-day incidence rate was 195 cases per 100,000 people (new cases must be below 200)
  • The 7-day hospitalization rate was 3.7 per 100,000 people (new COVID-19 hospitalizations per must be below 5)

The potential for a fourth COVID-19 wave remains real until more people are vaccinated. We all must continue taking precautions seriously to protect ourselves, our family, our community and our economy.

  • Wear a well-made, snug-fitting face mask and maintain physical distancing
  • Limit activities with unvaccinated people from outside your home
  • Avoid crowded indoor spaces
  • Improve ventilation in workplaces, businesses and homes, including opening doors and windows when you can
  • Stay home from work and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you were exposed to someone who has tested positive – testing is free at any of the King County and Seattle sites

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause

As of April 13, use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused following the guidance of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will remain on hold until further recommendations from federal partners are received.

This action is taken after reports of an extremely rare, severe type of blood clot occurred in six people out of the nearly 7 million people in the U.S. who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. About 149,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in Washington state. Currently, the Washington State Department of Health has no knowledge of the six patients being Washington residents.

Please note that other two vaccines currently being administered in the United States manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna have had no reports of this very rare blood clotting.

Two Things to Read & Watch

  1. Get vaccinated in King County
  2. Get ready: Post-Vaccination Considerations for Workplaces