COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update from the Washington State Department of Health
November 5, 2020
OLYMPIA—The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues progress on COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts.
DOH is encouraging healthcare providers to prepare to enroll as approved COVID-19 vaccine providers, sending an official letter with enrollment information. Provider enrollment is the first step in setting up approved COVID-19 vaccine provider locations.
Long-term care facilities can also enroll in a program that will provide a COVID-19 vaccine for their residents and staff. On October 16, the White House announced a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care facilities residents when available. These facilities should strongly consider registering for this program. Participation is critical to ensuring that their vulnerable residents are among the first to receive a vaccine when it becomes available.
Additionally, the department received a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with a new vaccine preparation timeline and some new planning requests. In this letter, HHS said they might pre-position vaccine supply closer to the administration sites so it will be quicker to get to the community.
HHS has asked all jurisdictions, including Washington state, to be ready by November 15. DOH wants to emphasize that this is only a “be ready” date. Setting this date intends to help all states prepare to use the vaccine as quickly as possible after being federally approved. The department must submit additional planning to HHS by November 2 to support this new timeline. Hospitals are the most likely pre-positioning site candidates in Washington, but nothing is final yet.
This week, the State received a technical review of the interim COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan from the CDC. After reviewing the feedback and there will be more to share on our coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine page next week.
Finally, Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week that Washington is joining other western states to review the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines once approved by the FDA. This is an added layer of independent expert review that will help build confidence in the vaccine and bring an additional layer of scrutiny to this critical process.
The department is committed to continuing the work necessary. When a vaccine is ready, they will be prepared to deploy it in a way that is equitable, safe, and timely for the people of Washington.