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

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

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts.

Yesterday, we learned that on Friday, October 2, the National Academies will release the final Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine. This report will help guide equitable allocation of a limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine. We will be looking at that report and using it to inform our planning and thinking for how we prioritize vaccine until there is sufficient supply for demand.

In addition to an updated framework for equitable allocation, the report will include recommendations for ensuring equity in distribution, administration, and access to the vaccine; for effective community engagement, risk communication, and strategies to promote vaccine acceptance; and for equitable global allocation.

We have received $5 million in federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine response preparation. This funding will support DOH partnerships with local health jurisdictions, tribal entities, health partners and community organizations. It will support vendor contracts, and staffing as we all prepare for vaccines to arrive sometime in the next several months. The department is also using this funding to hire several new staff members to support the vaccine effort.

Should an approved vaccine become available by November, DOH expects this funding to be sufficient to launch a vaccine distribution plan. We will to start enrolling medical providers this month. We will also be ready to turn in our vaccine plan to the CDC by the October 16 due date.

While some vaccine planning cannot be completed until we know what the final vaccine candidates are, we are doing as much as we can now to make sure the process run smoothly when it starts.

We are working with the federal government and local partners within Washington to plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available.