There is one question being asked more than any other by readers: How will they know and how will they be notified when it is their turn to be inoculated for the new coronavirus?
Most people will have to be patient. Vaccinating everyone in the state who wants the coronavirus vaccine is a complicated process that could take most of the year.
The state Department of Health (DOH) released an estimated timeline Wednesday for the phases of vaccination and who is included in those phases. The first phase, which is called A1/A2, began last month and includes all people working in health care settings who are at risk, high-risk first responders and long-term care facility residents.
The federal government has sent the state 522,550 doses of vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna to date, said State Health Officer Dr. Umair Shah during a Wednesday news briefing. Vaccine providers have administered at least 126,602 doses, Shah said, noting that data reporting of administration lags by about three days.
State data suggests the pace of vaccine administration continues to trail delivery, though it has improved since last week.
This week for FAQ Friday we answer questions about who is in which phase and how they might be notified.
Which phase am I in for the COVID-19 vaccine?
The second phase for vaccination, called B1, is set to begin later this month and includes all people 70 or older and all people 50 or older living in a multigenerational household.
Phase B2 is set for February and is for essential workers 50 or older in congregate settings in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, K-12 teachers and staff, child care, prisons, jails, detention centers, public transit, fire and law enforcement.
Phase B3 is slated for March and is for anyone 16 or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions.
Phase B4, which is planned for April, includes high-risk essential workers younger than 50 who work in B2 settings.
The state is still working on who will be included in phases 2, 3 and 4. Those later phases could run from May to December.
How will I know when it is my turn to be vaccinated?
DOH will launch an online questionnaire tool called PhaseFinder on Jan. 18. People can use the tool, at FindYourPhaseWa.org, to find out where and when they can be vaccinated. The questionnaire will be on the honor system.
People can also call their health care providers for vaccine information.
A spokesperson with Kaiser Permanente Washington said the health care system is currently vaccinating people in Phase A1/A2 and will update its website when vaccine becomes available and eligibility expands.
Another area health care system, UW Medicine, will be updating its website as the state moves through the phases, but is not currently scheduling patients for coronavirus vaccinations or putting them on a waiting list, said spokesperson Susan Gregg.
“When scheduling begins, an appointment will need to be made through our patient E-Care portal to receive the vaccine,” Gregg said. “We will not be accepting walk-ins at any UW Medicine vaccination site, hospital or clinic, and patients will not be able to make an appointment through our contact center.”
Seattle Times reporter Evan Bush contributed to this story.