On Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Health revealed who will be included in phase 1B for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The state focused on equity, recognizing many at risk of COVID-19 are not in long-term care centers but are cared for at home.
“We created these phases to make sure we are distributing vaccine in an equitable way to protect those in our state who are most at risk, " said Michele Robert, assistant secretary of health.
The top of the list in phase 1B(1) includes everyone age 70 and older and 50 and older who live in multigenerational households.
Next in phase1B(2) are the high-risk critical workers 50 and older who work in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, child care, corrections, public transit, fire, law enforcement, as well as K-12 teachers and staff.
Phase 1B(3) includes people 16 years old and older who have more than two co-morbidities or underlying health conditions. The last group, in phase 1B(4), includes high-risk critical workers under 50, those in congregate living settings and the homeless.
Ken Price, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 587, expressed relief that bus drivers will be able to be vaccinated.
“We’re thankful; we thought it was coming. We didn’t know where we were going to be in this second group,” said Price. “The majority of our drivers are looking and want this. We do have a percentage who are not trusting in the vaccine.” Price said about 75% of bus drivers expressed interest in getting the vaccine when it is available.
The vaccinations for phase 1B are expected to start at the end of January and last through April.
The Department of Health asked that people who qualify in 1B wait to contact their providers. The state stated it will make it clear when providers are ready to start vaccinating people who qualify for phase 1B.
Below is the Phase 1 estimated timeline for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine.
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