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Washington reaches level with more vaccinated than infected as teachers, law enforcement, and more essential workers added to eligible ranks

Washington’s phased expansion of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility might be a little hard to follow but it is making progress. For the first time, the state’s totals of those vaccinated has overtaken the number of currently infected — and important new categories of workers including teachers, police officers, firefighters, and public transit employees will soon be eligible for the vaccines.

The advances come as the nation marks one year of pandemic and more than 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths nationwide including more than 5,000 in Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday an expanded second tier within the state’s first phase of vaccine rollout that will allow essential workers including vital grocery, agriculture, and food processing workers to join the week’s earlier addition of educators and child care providers among those eligible to received the vaccine in the state:

Phase 1b Tier 2 – opening March 22
• All critical workers in certain congregate settings (change: no longer tiered by age; list of qualifying congregate settings has been expanded)
• People age 16 or older who are pregnant (new qualification)

• People age 16 or older who have a disability that puts them at higher risk (change: moved up from a later tier)

Phase 1b Tier 3
• Opening April 12: People with 2 or more comorbidities age 50 or older
• Opening April 26: People with 2 or more comorbidities age 16 or older
Phase 1b Tier 4 – opening April 26
• People who live in congregate housing
• Staff and volunteers who work in congregate settings not covered in 1B tier 2

How the state transitions to the wider “future phases” is still yet to be spelled out but, based on volume alone, there is a good chance the rest of us will get our first shot at Seattle’s “mega” mass vaccination site planned to open later this month at Lumen Field south of downtown where officials expect to administer 21,000 vaccinations a day and serve the wider region as vaccine supply ramps up.

The Biden administration announced this week it expects national totals to reach capacities capable of providing national coverage of every adult by the end of May thanks in part to the arrival of the recently authorized vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson joining the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna supplies.

Even with the end of May delivery target, it will take weeks and possibly months to administer the vaccine at such massive scale meaning you could still be waiting for your first shot in July.

The pandemic has slowed to rates last seen in early fall and officials say there is progress reaching vulnerable communities in the first phase of the state’s vaccination plan. The goal is for Seattle to reach a 70% vaccination level for its population that officials say will allow the area to successfully emerge from the crisis.

In Washington, there is growing hope that the tide has turned. This week, the percentage of those receiving at least one dose of vaccine finally crossed over the percentage of those currently reported to be infected with the virus. It’s a tenuous moment of victory. At current vaccination levels, outbreaks could easily rear their ugly heads again to catch back up in the terrible race.


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slider292
slider292
1 month ago

Under the new plan, most teachers in Washington will now receive their second dose with about a month left in the school year. How convenient.

Nic
Nic
1 month ago
Reply to  slider292

I assure you teachers, like many others, would have taken the chance to be vaccinated earlier. This seems a small point to complain about since so many have been working very hard in less than ideal situations/formats.

The more who get vaccinated when their turn comes up the better. Vaccination helps the individual and the community.

slider292
slider292
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

100% vaccination should never be, or have been, a requirement for getting teachers back in school– experts are nearly unanimous on this. Teachers unions are scoffing at the same science they implored people to heed a year ago.

Everyone has been working very hard this last year– teachers aren’t special. The fact that they’re demanding 100% vaccination before returning to a work environment that was never inherently unsafe is a slap in the face to millions of nurses, doctors, grocery store clerks, etc.

Nobody disagrees that “the more people [vaccinated], the better”, but putting perfectly healthy 20-something teachers over young and middle-aged adults with compromised immune systems is ridiculous.

sara
sara
1 month ago
Reply to  slider292

There’s three and a half months left in the school year for SPS.

slider292
slider292
1 month ago
Reply to  sara

Yes, and assuming most teachers get vaccinated over the next month, then their second dose 6-8 weeks after, then wait several weeks before those doses are fully effective, puts us in May.

sara
sara
1 month ago
Reply to  slider292

Wrong again.
Pfizer-BioNTech. You receive your second dose 3 weeks (21 days) after your first dose.
Moderna. You receive your second dose 4 weeks (28 days) after your first dose.
While waiting 6-8 weeks for a second dose does conveniently fit the false narrative you are peddling it’s not based in reality.
I’m not sure why this blog is allowing comments that spread disinformation or why you feel the need to resort to extreme exaggeration to make a desperately false argument.

LivedInEurope
LivedInEurope
1 month ago
Reply to  sara

It takes 4-6 weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective post second dose. That’s not a false narrative, that’s science.

So if teachers insist on 100% vaccination we could indeed be in May.

This despite many school districts across the country (including 200 here in Washington) already reopening at least in a hybrid mode, not to mention all the independent schools that are open now too.

Why don’t the teachers just come out and say they prefer to continue with remote-only school until the fall? At least then families can make plans.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  LivedInEurope

Not sure where you are getting your information, but it’s not 4-6 weeks after the second dose for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to reach their peak efficacy- it’s more like 2….

slider292
slider292
1 month ago
Reply to  sara

I’m aware of what the manufacturer recommends, but in practice most people are receiving the second doses later– look it up. Even if, for the sake of argument, you were right, teachers would be back with 6-7 weeks of school remaining.

The only ones exaggerating about this thing are the teachers and their unions. It’s a disgrace, and taxpayers will remember this, I assure you.

sara
sara
1 month ago
Reply to  slider292

Unfortunately for you, “look it up” is not a source but that’s okay I’ll provide you with one that exposes your horseshit
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-most-people-are-getting-their-second-shots-on-time-new-cdc-data-shows/
The only thing you’ve proved is that you are a pathetic liar.

Cynic
Cynic
1 month ago

There are Phases (1, 2, 3, etc.), Tiers (A, B), and, uh….Tiers again (1, 2, 3, 4).

According to the handy chart:

  • Phase I, Tier A, “Sub-tiers” 1 and 2 were first, and ran concurrently.
  • We then went to Phase I, Tier B, “Sub-tier” 1
  • Followed by Phase I, Tier B, “Sub-tiers” 2, 3, and 4
  • This will supposedly be followed by new Phases

So what will the next defined steps be (the ones coming in the Future, i.e Summer)? Phase II, Tier C, or Sub-tier 5? I am so excited to find out. Why is Tier C getting the shaft? You’d think they’d want the optics to look better by saying “we’re now onto Phase II” or at least “Phase I C.”

But hey, this is a government operation. Why keep it simple when you can make it look more official and scientific-like?

I personally don’t think there will ever be a Phase II. We’ll get as far as Phase I, Tier B, Sub-tier 6 or something, and then they’ll say “F**k it. Open to all”