Washington will open Covid vaccinations to a new group of people on Wednesday.
The new phase will add high-risk workers in certain settings where there are large numbers of people: grocery stores, food processing and correctional facilities, fishing vessels and buses. It will also apply to people 16 and older who are pregnant or who have a disability that puts them at high risk for severe disease if they contract the virus.
The state had initially planned to bring in the new group on March 22, but moved up the date to March 17. Dr. Mark Johnson, an infectious disease physician at Confluence Health in Wenatchee, welcomed the move in a state hospital association briefing on Monday. He says demand for vaccinations among those who are eligible is declining.
“Previously, there were no open appointments at all, either at Confluence Health in Wenatchee or in the large vaccine site that’s supervised by the state and public health. That just tells me that, as these slots open up, it means that people who wanted to get vaccinated right now have been vaccinated," he said. "I think it’s important to continue to allow people who were in prior phases to get vaccinated. I know that’ s happening. But, from our data, we’re ready to move to the next phase.”
You can go to the Department of Health’s online Phase Finder to find out if you’re currently eligible for vaccine.
The state estimates it will shift to the phase after that on April 12. That will be for people 50 and older who have two or more serious underlying health conditions.