All Washington residents 16+ eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting April 15

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that starting April 15, all Washington residents 16 and older will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This is two weeks earlier than originally planned - Washington was going to expand eligibility May 1.

Inslee said that one of the reasons the state is expanding eligibility sooner than planned is because of a “disturbing trend of rising cases” in many areas of the state.

He also said that the federal government’s assurances of increased allocations led to the decision.

“Opening up full eligibility is one tool to help in the fight against the virus,” a release from the governor’s office read.

The expanded eligibility comes exactly four months after Washington administered its first COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 15.

Along with announcing expanded eligibility, an additional 2 million people now qualify for their COVID-19 shots after the state moved into phase 1B, tiers 3 and 4, on Wednesday.

There are currently 1.2 million Washingtonians fully vaccinated, according to state Secretary of Health Umair Shah.