OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state will focus on administering second vaccine doses next week and because of that, appointments to get a first dose next week will be extremely limited, Washington state health officials said Friday.
Providers requested about 170,000 second doses for next week, an amount significantly higher than the state’s allocation of 92,325 second doses, the Department of Health said in a news release. The difference is likely because some providers in Washington used doses of vaccine intended to complete the two-dose vaccine series as the initial dose in January.
Unfortunately, officials said, this means a portion of next week’s available first doses will need to be used to fully vaccinate these people. This focus on second dose administration is anticipated to be less so in upcoming weeks, officials said.
For first doses next week, the Department of Health plans to prioritize long term care facilities, adult family homes, mass vaccination sites in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties and other sites that address equity.
“We are monitoring the distribution of doses closely and making adjustments as needed,” Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health said in the statement. “While the limited availability of first doses will be challenging this coming week, focusing on second doses will help pave the way for an improved and more sustainable allocation of vaccines in future weeks.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also delay vaccine delivery until Tuesday because of weather concerns across the country, officials said. Together, this means people trying make an appointment for a first dose likely will not be able to do so next week, and some who have appointments for a first dose may be asked to reschedule, health officials said.
State health officials also said Friday that more than 1 million doses of the vaccine had been administered in Washington since distribution started in mid-December.