Starting Thursday, everyone 16 and older who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can receive one in Washington. The eligibility expansion marks the four-month anniversary of vaccine rollout in our state. Since mid-December, nearly 4.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the state. More than 2.67 million people have received at least one dose and more than 23% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated. Opening eligibility to everyone 16 and older will further protect our communities and help us get closer to crossing the finish line of this global pandemic.
The Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Vaccine Locator tool is a great resource to help you find a vaccine appointment in your area. Since launching the improved website, more than 1.6 million people have visited Vaccine Locator with 300,000 new users within the last week. More than 70% of people visiting the site click through to a provider’s scheduling website. We anticipate these numbers will spike today and we are prepared for increased traffic. If you need help making an appointment, please call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #. Language assistance is available.
Currently Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for people 16 years of age and older. Moderna is authorized for people 18 and older. Those age 16 and 17 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated. To help simplify registration, we have added vaccine type to Vaccine Locator and are in the process of retrieving information from providers to show on the website and app. If the vaccine type is listed as “vaccine type unknown,” people may need to contact the provider. We know this information is important and we hope to include it throughout Vaccine Locator as soon as possible.
Currently about 6.1 million people in Washington are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. While we are pleased many people are eager to be vaccinated, we continue to ask for the public’s patience. If you struggle to find an appointment near you today, do not get discouraged. As we work to get our communities vaccinated, please remember to wear a face covering, get tested if you feel sick, practice physical distancing, and properly wash your hands. It is going to take time to vaccinate millions of people in Washington. The good news is, we are well on our way.