Seattle has just launched a vaccination website and weekly newsletter. The newsletter will provide weekly updates on eligibility criteria, vaccination progress in Seattle and King County, and new City of Seattle vaccination efforts.
Vaccines are in limited supply and how many doses Seattle gets and who gets them is determined by the state and federal government. Washington State Department of Health developed an eligibility timeline that aims to reduce hospitalizations and death and slow the spread of COVID-19. You can learn more about this work and the vaccination rollout plan here, and provide feedback on the plan here.
Who can get vaccinated right now? The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) determines who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Right now the following groups can get vaccinated:
- Health care workers
- High-risk first responders
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- All people over 65 years-old
- All people over 50 years-old who cannot live independently
Where can I get a vaccine? If you’re currently eligible, FindYourPhaseWA.org will verify your eligibility and help you find out where you can get vaccinated in Seattle.
You can also get help over the phone from the Washington State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline: Dial 1 (800) 525-0127, then press #. The hotline is available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and observed state holidays. Phone interpretation is available.
The Seattle Fire Department is currently vaccinating residents and workers in Adult Family Homes by invitation only.
When can I get the vaccine? Right now, only a small number of people in the highest risk communities are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine supply from the federal government has been limited. In the coming weeks and months, more individuals will become eligible and more vaccines will become available.
The State’s vaccination timeline was developed to keep people safe and to prevent continued deaths and COVID-19 spread among our highest risk communities. To contain COVID-19 and fully re-open the region, Public Health — Seattle & King County estimates that it will be necessary to vaccinate at least 70 percent of all adults, or approximately 1.5 million people.
What does vaccination cost? COVID vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and the cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured. There may be a copay or office visit fee, depending on your insurance plan or the doctor you see to get vaccinated.
Public Health also is planning free vaccination clinics when supplies of vaccine are available.
Can I stop taking public health precautions once I’m vaccinated? The short answer is no. The vaccine will give you a high level of protection against developing COVID disease, but the protection is not 100%. Also, we don’t yet know how well the vaccine prevents people from spreading the virus. That means it’s possible that someone who is vaccinated may get infected—even if they don’t get sick it’s possible that they could still spread COVID-19 to others. Studies are in progress to answer this question.
Even after vaccination, protect others by:
- continuing to wear masks
- limit indoor activities outside of the home
- avoid crowded indoor spaces
- keep contacts with others brief and distanced
- improve ventilation indoors
- wash your hands.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-life conditions, our continued use of all COVID-19 precautions will help to end this pandemic.
How is the City assisting with vaccination? Last week I wrote that the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) approved the City to serve as a vaccine distributor, meaning the City is eligible to receive weekly shipments of vaccine from DOH and can administer vaccine to Seattle residents and workers. Seattle Fire Department has already acted creatively and heroically to provide more than 560,000 free COVID tests for Seattle residents, and now will speed efforts to vaccinate vulnerable Seattle residents, starting with mobile teams that will vaccinate up to 1,000 residents and staff of adult family homes.
In terms of what’s coming next, Seattle will continue to focus its limited weekly doses on its highest risk communities. The City has the infrastructure in place to quickly turn at least one of the existing COVID testing sites into a mass vaccination site – what we don’t have is access to the necessary vaccine supply. The need for increased supply is why Mayor Durkan joined mayors across the country in calling for the Biden-Harris administration to allocate vaccines directly to cities, and is hopeful the new administration will act on that soon.
Where can I learn more about vaccination?
- King County hosts a COVID vaccine data dashboard, showing allocations of doses locally, as well as doses administered.
- Learn more about the State’s vaccination rollout plan.
- Most health insurers are waiving copays and deductibles for the COVID vaccine.
- Here’s a handy list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID vaccine.
- Learn more about the safety of COVID vaccines in the US.