The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) says it continues to make progress with its COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

As of Feb. 1, 773,346 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than 60 percent of the 1,160,850 doses delivered to providers and long-term care programs across the state. Currently, Washington is averaging 27,902 vaccine doses given per day, inching closer to our goal of vaccinating 45,000 people per day. Those numbers can be found on the DOH data dashboard under the vaccines tab and they are updated three times per week.

This week DOH also has data to showcase how effective the state’s mass vaccination sites have been. As of today, more than 20,000 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine at one of the state's four sites. The locations in Spokane, Ridgefield, Wenatchee, and Kennewick opened on Jan. 26.

Vaccine demand

The state is still in a place right now where demand for vaccine greatly outpaces the amount of vaccine available. This week, more than 600 facilities requested more than 358,000 first doses of vaccine. The DOH’s first-dose allocation from the federal government was only 107,125 doses, which is less than one-third of what providers asked for.

The agency also had more requests for second dose allocations than its allocation from the federal government. The total state allocation for second doses was 58,725, and providers requested 14,000 more than that.

Allocation expansion

Recently DOH has been expanding vaccine allocation beyond hospitals to help with access. In the beginning it made sense to send most of the vaccine to hospitals to reach the most at-risk workers in health care settings. Now, DOH is spreading limited vaccine among many more sites where people can get vaccinated, including pharmacies, community health centers, local public health, and mass vaccination sites.

Allocation process explained  

The DOH says it received a lot of questions recently regarding the state’s allocation process. This week, DOH allocated 19 precent of vaccine to community health centers, federally qualified health centers, local health jurisdictions and private practitioners, 23 percent to hospitals, 36 percent to mass vaccination sites, 19 percent to pharmacies, and 3 percent to tribes and Urban Indian Health Programs. State allocations of vaccines go to sites that are locally run, as well as the mass vaccination sites. 

Each week, the state allocates vaccine from the limited supply to enrolled providers through a multi-step process that started Saturday and is completed by Thursday night to meet the CDC’s Friday morning ordering deadline. Enrolled providers place their requests through the state’s Immunization Information System (WAIIS) and DOH gathers information from Local Health Jurisdictions to help determine their priorities of where vaccine should go. Decisions are made based on several factors: proportional population of those eligible in the county, data from providers, provider’s current inventory and documented throughput, equity, and access at all provider types (hospitals, pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, and clinics).