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More people in Pierce County will soon be vaccine-eligible

TACOMA, Wash.—Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday the state will make more people eligible for COVID-19 vaccine March 31. The new eligible groups are:

• Everyone 16 and older with two or more comorbidities.

• More workers in congregate settings: restaurants, manufacturing and construction.

• Everyone 16 and older living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.).

• Everyone aged 60-64.

“More COVID-19 vaccine eligibility brings hope to all of us,” said Nigel Turner, Health Department Director of Communicable Disease. “When people get vaccinated when they are eligible, we all get one step closer to community immunity,” he said. People already eligible for COVID-19 vaccination include:

Grocery stores workers.
Public transit employees.
Law enforcement and firefighters.
Corrections, prison, jail, and detention center officers.
Social workers who respond to public health and safety concerns.
Food processing workers.
Staff and volunteers who work at homeless and domestic violence shelters.
People 16 years or older who are pregnant or have a disability that puts them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
People who work in healthcare settings.
Medical first responders, like EMT or emergency transport.
Community health workers, caregivers or home care aides.
People who live or work in long-term care facilities.
Everyone 65 years or older.
People who are 50 years or older and live in a multigenerational household. For example, a grandparent living with a grandchild.
PreK-12 educator, school staff or licensed childcare worker.

If you’re 16 or 17 years old, you must get vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. It’s authorized for people 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people who are at least 18.

“Vaccine supplies have increased, and we expect they will continue to do so in the weeks ahead,” said Turner.

COVID vaccines are always free, no matter the location Once fully vaccinated, people can also enjoy some activities, mask-free.

The Governor also announced increased vaccination rates clears the way for resuming visitation at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, effective immediately.

The Health Department and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management are offering drive-through COVID-19 clinics, and the Health Department also offers walk up and smaller clinics to ensure access to eligible people, with a special focus on those COVID-19 has hit the hardest.

Outdoor visitation remains the safest, preferred option, but indoor visitation will now be allowed for visitors or residents who are fully vaccinated. Compassionate care visits will remain allowed, regardless of vaccination status.

Even as we build up more protection against COVID-19, your role to stop the spread remains critical:

When it’s your turn, get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Wear your mask.
Maintain physical distancing.
Keep gatherings small.
If you’re sick, stay home.
Limit your trips.
Wash your hands frequently.
Get a test if you experience symptoms or think you were exposed.

Learn more at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment to protect public health. We are one of roughly 244 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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