Inslee expands vaccine eligibility to all adults starting April 15
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that starting April 15, all Washingtonians over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
At an afternoon press conference, Inslee said:
We must do everything possible to ensure that we can keep cases down. We have concerns about the trends we are seeing across the state and we must be cautious. Opening up full eligibility will be one tool to help in the fight against the virus.”
Washington began administering doses of the vaccination four months ago using a tiered eligibility system. State officials say the system was designed to prioritize those most at risk of hospitalization and death.
Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah said:
The state’s phased eligibility approach has helped ensure those most vulnerable were the first to be vaccinated. Thanks to increasing vaccine supply from the federal government and hard work from our providers across the state to get shots in arms, we are able to expand eligibility sooner than anyone initially thought.”
New COVID cases surged in Washington state in the week ending Sunday by 18.2%, which was part of the impetus for expanding eligibility, Inslee said:
If we get vaccinated and continue the health practices that keep those around us healthy – masks, distancing and basic hygiene – we’re going to knock this virus down. But we cannot get complacent. We feel like we are done with COVID, but this virus is not done with us yet.”
Thus far, about 3.3 million doses have been administered in Washington, and more than one million residents have been fully vaccinated.
Vaccine appointments can be made using DOH’s Vaccine Locator tool.