SPOKANE, Wash. — Some people are anxiously awaiting the day when they will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.
Washington state recently announced an expansion of its Phase 1B vaccination criteria, which now includes people over the age of 65 and those over 50 years old who live in multigenerational households in the first tier.
On Thursday, Jan. 21, the Washington State Department of Health announce it had finished giving the first round of COVID-19 vaccines to all residents in nursing homes in the state. The department said it is still working on the rest of long-term care facilities.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little recently announced that residents who are 65 and older have been moved up priority groups and can begin getting vaccinated in February.
Here's what we know right now about when people are expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Washington and Idaho and where vaccinations will happen.
When will I get the vaccine?
Washington state recently entered into Phase 1B of distribution.
There are four tiers of prioritization for vaccinating Washingtonians in Phase 1B:
- Tier 1: People age 65 or older and people age 50 or older living in multi-generational households.
- Tier 2: High-risk critical workers age 50 or older in congregate settings, including grocery stores, correctional facilities, public transit, schools, agriculture, etc.
- Tier 3: People age 16-70 with two or more underlying health conditions.
- Tier 4: High-risk critical workers in congregate settings - like Tier 2 - under age 50 and staff and volunteers of all ages in congregate living facilities.
Tier 1 is expected to begin in January 2021. Tier 2 is slated for February, followed by Tiers 3 and 4 in March and April.
Phase 1A of vaccine distribution began in December 2020 and includes high-risk health care workers, high-risk first responders, long-term care facility residents and all other workers at risk in health care settings.
Information on eligibility in Phases 2, 3 and 4 of vaccine distribution will be available soon, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Those phases are expected to extend from May through December 2021.
Backlog leads to delay in Phase 1B vaccinations
Some KREM 2 viewers who are eligible in Phase 1B said providers have told them they do not have coronavirus vaccines or appointments. The Spokane Regional Health District has fielded similar calls, said COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force leader Kayla Myers.
The backlog in vaccinating those who are eligible in Phase 1B stems from Phase 1A individuals who are still signing up for available appointments, Myers said.
There are individual sites that allow people who are eligible in Phase 1B to sign up for remaining appointments but this is not a "consistent opportunity," Myers said. She was unable to provide an estimated date for when more providers could begin vaccinating Phase 1B patients.
How to use tool that determines eligibility in Washington
Washington has rolled out a more robust version of an online tool that determines eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) initially rolled out the PhaseFinder pilot in early January, but at the time it only determined eligibility for Phase 1A, which includes high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents. The survey now asks questions related to Phase 1B.
If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, you can enter your name and contact information to receive a confirmation message to show to a vaccine provider to demonstrate eligibility. You can find a list of vaccine providers on DOH's website. If you are not eligible, you can still enter your contact information to be alerted when it’s your turn.
Contact information will remain private and will not be used for other purposes.
While the online tool will walk you through each step, it does not arrange a vaccination appointment, location or date.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced in mid-January that the state would adopt the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee's recommendation to allow teachers, frontline workers and Idahoans 65 years or older to receive their shot in the next phase.
This could include an estimated 500,000 Idahoans.
Teachers, school staff, first responders and other frontline workers will be prioritized through Jan. 31. After all in those categories have been vaccinated, the shot will become available to the 65-and-older population, some time between Feb. 1-15.
A timeline previously published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare showed an early projection for when people will be able to get the vaccine. It placed residents into four different groups, with availability extending through May 2021.
Group One is made up of health care workers, and employees of residential and long-term care facilities. It also includes other medical personnel, such as outpatient clinic staff, pharmacists and emergency medical service workers.
Group Two previously included K-12 school staff, grocery and convenience store employees, firefighters, police officers and Idaho residents 75 years of age or older. This group now includes people ages 65 and older.
Group Three is expected to include individuals age 16-64 with medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms. Vaccinations for this group are expected to begin in April 2021.
Group Four, made up of the general public, can then begin receiving the vaccine. This is expected to begin in May 2021.
Where can I get it? Will I be able to sign up online?
CVS Pharmacy has an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to eventually provide coronavirus vaccines to the general public in 2021. More details will be shared at a later date.
Joseph Diebold, a spokesperson for CVS, said patients will need to make an appointment for their initial vaccination on CVS.com or through the mobile app. When someone schedules their first dose, they will be prompted to schedule an appointment for their booster dose within the approved timeframe.
The patient will also receive follow-up email and text reminders ahead of their appointments, Diebold said.
Subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, CVS anticipates offering COVID-19 vaccines at all stores in 2021, including every location in Spokane County and North Idaho.
Fred Meyer will have an online landing page, similar to what is available for flu vaccinations.
Jeffery Temple, a spokesperson for the company, said all Fred Meyer stores will receive federal allocations of the vaccine during Phase 2. The company is currently working with individual jurisdictions regarding Phase 1 involvement in its pharmacies, he added.
Safeway has an online portal where people can sign up to be notified of when they're eligible for the vaccine so they can then schedule an appointment online.
Two MultiCare clinics are offering COVID-19 vaccinations subject to availability.
They include the Rockwood clinic in Liberty Lake located at 1326 N. Stanford Lane and the Deaconess Health & Education Center located in Spokane at 910 W. 5th Ave. Ste. 266.
Appointments are required and in high demand. Those who are eligible to receive the vaccine may not find anything through the online scheduling option.
If appointments are not available, you will need to check back at another date for openings. More information is available on MultiCare's website.
Mt. Spokane Pediatrics
Mt. Spokane Pediatrics at 9425 N. Nevada Street Ste. 300 in North Spokane is offering COVID-19 vaccines.
Those who are interested should call 509-270-0065 or email email@example.com for more information.
Prevention Northwest/Northwest Neurological
Prevention Northwest's office is located at 26 E. 5th Ave. in Spokane.
Those who are looking for more information should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providence in Spokane County
Providence is working on developing a COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling process for its patients. Its website will be updated with details and links as they are available.
The health care company and its community partners will also open community clinics to vaccinate the public.
Safeway located at 14020 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane is offering COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment only.
If there are no spots left on the online scheduling link, all appointment times have been filled. Safeway will add more appointments when more vaccine is available.
Unify Community Health
Unify Community Health is located at 120 W. Mission Ave. in Spokane.
Those who would like more information about COVID-19 vaccinations should email email@example.com.
A mass vaccination site is expected to open at the Spokane Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
The mass vaccine site will be open by appointment only to those who are pre-registered and eligible for the vaccine under Phases 1A or 1B-1. It will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
Those who are looking to get a vaccine should first confirm they are eligible using the state's PhaseFinder tool. The next step is to make an appointment. Scheduling information will be available soon on the Spokane Regional Health District's website.
A "limited number of initial appointments" will be accepted to start and some sites will quickly reach capacity for week one, the DOH said.