SEATTLE — The COVID-19 vaccine has begun arriving in Washington and authorities are getting shots ready for people in high-risk categories who will be eligible to receive it in the first distribution phase.
About 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at UW Medical Center early Monday morning. The vaccine delivery to UW was among the first in the state, a day after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the vaccine received approval by a Western states review board. Federal officials had previously OK’d the Pfizer shots.
Inslee said vaccinations would begin Tuesday.
The initial doses in Washington will go to health workers and people in long-term care facilities, but it will be months before it is available to much of the broader population. Authorities say there are about 500,000 people in Washington eligible for the vaccine in the initial phase. Washington’s population is approximately 7.5 million.
“We believe that if everything goes according to plan, we’ll have most people in Washington vaccinated by mid-summer,” Michele Roberts, one of the leaders of the Washington state Department of Health vaccine planning group, said in a statement.
The Department of Health said it expects to get 62,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, which will be distributed to 17 sites in 13 counties.
By the end of December, the state expects to get another 222,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. And if a vaccine developed by Moderna gets approval, the state says it should get about 183,800 doses of that offering by the end of December.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was in Snohomish County in January. The state also saw the nation’s first deadly outbreak at a nursing home. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been about 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington and more than 2,800 deaths.