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More people will soon be vaccine-eligible. A new tool will help find your place in line.

We received more good news on COVID-19 vaccines today, when Gov. Inslee announced who is in phase 1B, the next group of people who will be eligible for vaccination. We estimate as many as 200,000 people in Pierce County could be eligible in this phase.

The first tier of Phase 1B can get vaccinated later this month.

Tier 1 of Phase 1B includes:

  • People 65 or older.
  • People who are 50 or older and live in multi-generational households.

The state expects it will take about three weeks to vaccinate this tier.

Prioritizing those most at risk.

As always, the state is prioritizing vaccinations for the groups most at risk from COVID-19.

In Pierce County, more than 75% of the people who have died from the virus are 70 or older. That group makes up less than 10% of our population. And we know multi-generational households are a common place COVID-19 transmits to older people.

Once that group has received vaccinations, the state will move to the next tier within Phase 1B. About 900,000 Washingtonians will be eligible in Phase 1B, and the state estimates it will take about six weeks to reach them all. We estimate Pierce County residents make up about 200,000 of this eligible group.

A new tool to learn when you’re eligible.

Washington Department of Health will unveil a new tool called Phase Finder later this month. It will ask you a series of questions, then tell you if you can get the vaccine. It will also help you schedule an appointment.

If you’re not yet eligible yet, the tool will let you know when you are. Phase Finder is still a test site, but the full version will be available later this month.

The remaining tiers of Phase 1B are made up of people most at risk from poor health outcomes and those most likely to come into contact with COVID-19.

Tier 2: High-risk critical workers 50 years or older in certain congregate settings:

  • Agriculture.
  • Food processing.
  • Grocery stores.
  • K-12 teachers and staff.
  • Childcare.
  • Corrections, prisons, jails and detention center staff.
  • Public transit.
  • Fire.
  • Law enforcement.

The state expects Tier 2 will begin in February.

Tier 3: People 16 years or older with two or more health conditions the CDC says can put you at severe risk from COVID-19. The state expects Tier 3 will begin in March.

Tier 4: High-risk critical workers under 50 years old in the congregate settings listed in Tier 2. All residents, staff and volunteers in congregate living settings, including correctional facilities, group homes for people with disabilities and shelters for people experiencing homelessness. The state expects Tier 4 to begin in April.

Where can I get my vaccine if I am eligible?

Phase Finder will list some options where you can receive the vaccine once you’re eligible. In Pierce County, several kinds of places will offer vaccines. Where you receive it will depend on your phase and tier:

  • Healthcare systems and primary care clinics.
  • Federal pharmacy partnership for long-term care.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Drive through/walk up events.
  • Employer-based vaccination events.

As more healthcare providers enroll to administer the vaccine, people will have more options to conveniently get vaccinated.

Vaccine supply is still limited.

Each week, Washington receives thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine. But not everybody can get one right away. Soon, those in Phase 1B will join thousands of healthcare workers and people living in congregate settings who are already eligible to get vaccinated.

As more people get vaccinated, we get closer to meeting community immunity thresholds. Estimates for full community immunity fall between 70% and 80% of people vaccinated.

While the rest of us wait for our turn, remember to keep protecting yourself and the people around you with the tools we know help stop the spread of COVID-19:

Learn more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 at tpchd.org/coronavirus. Find more info on the vaccine at tpchd.org/covid19vaccine.

A healthcare provider draws a dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from a vial using a syringe.