The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Washington State Department of Health announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

Dayton General Hospital prepares


December 17, 2020

Seattle Times Photo

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored in ultra-cold freezer units or temporarily in the thermal packaging used for shipping.

DAYTON-The Washington State Department of Health expects to receive and distribute 62,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to 17 sites across 13 counties, beginning this week.

According to DOH, the state should receive another 222,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and 183,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, by the end of Dec., with regular shipments beginning in Jan.

About 190 organizations across the state are enrolled as COVID-19 vaccine providers. The majority of enrolled facilities are hospital and medical clinics, including Dayton General Hospital.

Cheryl Pell, the pharmacist at Dayton General Hospital, said it is still unknown whether DGH will be among the first to receive vaccines.

"When we do receive them, they will be offered to those individuals who are classified as Phase 1a, per guidance put out by the DOH," Pell said.

According to DOH protocol, vaccines in Phase 1a will be made available to high-risk workers, in health care settings, to highest risk first responders, and residents and staff in long-term care facilities. DOH estimates around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1a.

Pell said DGH is prepared to receive and store the Moderna vaccine because it doesn't require ultra-cold refrigeration.

The vaccine made by Pfizer needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. Locations that do not have ultra-cold storage capacity can store the vaccine in the special thermal shipper the vaccine comes in.

"We are working on obtaining an ultra-cold freezer, at this time," said Pell. "This will ensure that we can keep both products refrigerated per manufacturer guidelines."

According to DOH, it will take a number of weeks for the state to receive sufficient vaccine for everyone eligible in Phase 1a. As additional doses are expected in January, other priority groups can be targeted.

In this first phase of vaccination distribution, DOH will only be sharing the names of counties receiving vaccine, and the number of doses each county will receive. As the program is expanded to future phases, DOH will share details about where vaccine is located and let communities know how and where to get it.


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