The Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

Last week I heard a news story about the Covid-19 vaccine. I excitedly listened as it was explained how soon the vaccine might be available. According to the newscaster, once Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are authorized, Americans could start receiving shots within 24 to 48 hours.


First in line would be frontline healthcare workers and people at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill, such as elderly Americans with preexisting health conditions, and I thought, “Well, of course. That makes sense.”

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Then I heard, vaccines would be more widely available to young, healthy members of the general public in the Spring of 2021….


I instantly turned into Private Benjamin. I guess I’m not that young, but for those of you who remember, there was a scene in the movie where the spoiled young ingenue, Goldie Hawn (who isn’t young anymore either) joins the military and, during some grueling exercise, breaks down and starts whining about the things she wants to do.

I want go out to lunch. I want be NORMAL again!

Me too, Judy Benjamin, me too.

Don’t get me wrong; I want all the people who should have the vaccine first to get it first. I just want it too! So, I went looking for a bit more information on how all of this will work when the time comes.

I found the Washington State Department of Health continues to progress with their COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts.

Vaccine authorizations and approvals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received its first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application from a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer on November 20. This is encouraging news about the potential for vaccines to be used as a prevention tool to control the pandemic. A EUA allows the FDA to make a product available during a declared state of emergency before it has a full license.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on December 10 to review the EUA application. Vaccine safety is of the utmost importance to communities in Washington. If the EUA is approved, the vaccine will then be vetted by the western states’ Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

This workgroup will provide another layer of scrutiny and expert review to this process and should take about 1 to 2 days. This will be done while the vaccine is still being processed and shipped, so it should not delay making the vaccine available to people in Washington.

First vaccine arrival

The DOH is hopeful they will have a vaccine to begin administering by mid-December. The federal government has given them an estimate of 62,400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for their initial allocation. The government also told the state we should receive an estimated total of around 200,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December. Regular weekly shipments should begin in January.

There is no estimate on the Moderna vaccine; they expect to learn more after the company submits their application for an emergency use authorization.

The first people eligible to receive vaccines are high-risk workers in health care settings. This is called phase 1A. The state will share more information about vaccine phases in the coming weeks.

The vaccine candidate made by Pfizer must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. Fortunately, locations that do not have ultra-cold storage capacity can still store this vaccine in the special thermal shipper the vaccine comes in. This allows additional sites to receive the vaccine as long as they can vaccinate at least 975 people in 20 days. They are also working on a policy that will allow hospitals who don’t expect to vaccinate 975 people to transfer extra vaccines to other enrolled facilities. This will reduce wasted vaccine.

Provider enrollment

Providers who have fully enrolled in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program by December 6 will be eligible to receive part of the first shipment. As of November 25, 54 providers were fully enrolled, with many more applications partially completed or pending approval. They encourage clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals to enroll in the program soon to make the deadline. They can enroll at

The DOH will coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ship vaccines directly to enrolled providers once the vaccine is available. Providers will then be responsible for storing and administering the vaccine. They are meeting with enrolled and interested providers regularly to provide updates and technical assistance. They will know in early December which facilities will get the vaccine first.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

The potential good news is that other vaccine candidates could get emergency authorization too. This would significantly speed up the process and make the vaccine more widely available to the public. So fingers crossed that soon we can all go out to lunch and be NORMAL again soon.

Comments are closed.


  • I take it you want that you are young, healthy and without medical conditions that would put you at risk to Covid-19. You want early vaccination so you can return to normal and do normal things like go to lunch. I was a little confused about the source of your dismay. How young is she? What is the problem? Of course, there will rightfully be a priority list. The healthy young who want to party should not have equal access rights with grandma in a nursing home or the supermarket checker exposed to dozens or hundreds of strangers in a day or the beat cop. Some good information here though. One thing I have learned over the last year is that people primarily are concerned with themselves. They want to fly but take off their mask once on the plane. They respect healthcare workers but want to go to church. They believe in social distancing, but need to deface that statue of Abraham Lincoln.

    1. Hi RC,
      I’m not quite sure if you read the whole article? My dismay is waiting until spring, yes, but at no point did I say I wanted priority over any one who should have access before me. As for age, I’m young at heart but partying is firmly in my rear window

      1. Kinda worried about how safe it will actually be i plan to not let my children or my self get the vaccine untill 6 to 12 months after it has been distributed to the public so we can watch for our selves side affects. Vaccinations should not be rushed threw just to please the government of the people.

    2. Question is, are people going to be forced to take this vaccine? I mean why risk the side effects when healthy mid adults like me have over a 95% recovery rate??

      1. Normal Immune Response, not side effects. Vaccinations cause your immune system to respond in a way that helps it fight off future infection. As such you may experience disease like symptoms just like you would when getting the flu shot. Its a choice between mild discomfort for a day or spreading it around to those who are immune compromised. Best case you become the opposite end of your statistic and can’t bother anyone with your flawed logic anymore.

        1. There are side affects with EVERY vaccine, they give you a paper to read so that you can return to emergency care if you have any. And some people are actually allergic to the flue vaccine so yes it is a risk for allergic reactions as well as side affects. It is NOT always normal immune response and telling people that puts them at risk thinking they are fine when something is wrong. I get the flue shot every year and yes I have the immune response BUT my daughter is allergic and went in to anaphylaxis shock less than 30 seconds after getting the shot and was in the hospital over a week. So YES there are Side affects, allergic reactions, and simple immune reactions. EVERYONE Should read there hand out and stay informed and if ANYTHING feels off DO NOT think “oh must be normal immune stuff” just call you Dr. ASAP to be safe.

      2. I’m right there with you. And really how safe is this vaccine. Do we get to see the list of ingrediants? And stored in ultra cold freezers. How can you shop in ultra cold containers and keep vaccine in the containers u till use. I need to di some research.

      3. No. No one will be forced to take it. But the risk of side effects is likely much lower and certainly much more mild than the risk of the disease. More importantly, by taking the vaccine you reduce your chance of becoming a carrier who spreads the disease to others. It’s a *public health* issue, not just a personal health issue. But no, no one will force you.

        1. I call BS on your posting that no one will be forced to take the vaccine. These vaccines are longterm untested, and one would have to be a fool to be injected with an mRNA vaccine that moves a molecule into all your cells which will then harness your cell machinery and cause you to indefinitely produce antibodies to the virus. Why do you think clinical studies are required of all drugs? I’ll tell you why – because new drugs often end up having horrible side effects that result in permanent disability or death. If Biden becomes President, which I don’t believe is going to happen, the government WILL attempt to force everyone to receive the vaccine.

          1. Don, your cells have always had mRNA entering them ever since you were born. That is how the hundreds of thousands of RNA viruses work and how Corona will get you if you don’t get vaccinated!!! The big difference is the vaccine mRNA is small and has no other parts to make the rest of the virus, only the part the immune system needs to use to kill the wild type virus. Your fear is like throwing a tire out on the road and expecting it to morph into a car and run you over . Not likely to happen in your or the universe’s lifetime.

            1. Why does it take that long for an emergency authorization? (20 days? Submitted on Nov 20, meeting again Dec 10)
              I have to believe this was anticipated, was some of this not able to be front loaded?
              And then, AFTER dec 10 the western review group then looks at it? What additional value do they bring and can that not be done in parallel?
              And is the production ramping up with the expectation itll pass review? (Because, lets be honest–it absolutely will. Great efficacy, minimal(okay, ish–acceptable) side effects. The only thing we can’t say is long term and that was never on the table).
              If the virus warrants massive shutdowns, travel restrictions, unemployment, canceling Christmas etc, the sense of urgency and logistical aptitude is staggering. Either its a big deal or its not.

          2. As delusional as the Orangeman, please read more widely and especially the scientific opinions, not the conspiracy theories. He is just trying to play victim with these legal and scare tactics to get you to donate. He’ll need it for bail and his criminal lawyers……………… NO civilian adults in the Land of the Free will be forced to be vaccinated. We all worry, and should be worried, about side effects, which may be very severe or fatal, but the evidence clearly shows this as being MUCH less than the effects of the virus. Do your homework, please. An MD trying to help you.

      4. I don’t think you should be forced to take the vaccine, but that you have adequate medical insurance to pay for any bills you may have as a result of hospitalization and that you have an adequate financial plan in the event you are out of work for a period of time due to getting sick (say several weeks to a month or two?). And what if you are one of the 5% who don’t recover completely? Do you have employment that can continue in the event that you are left with long term breathing or other health issues? Do you have an estate adequate to support your children to adulthood and a guardian identified in the event that it kills you like more than a quarter of a million people so far?

      5. You cannot force people to take a vaccine. I’m not taking this vaccine. Just like me the flu-shot is optional.

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  • It’s my understanding that taking the vaccine could reduce our chances of being inadvertent carriers. So many people have morphed into killers, as evidenced by holiday gatherings, and that willingness to risk the lives of friends and family doesn’t appear to be diminishing. So if our national selfishness is going to continue unchecked, we all need to be immunized.

    1. Speak for yourself, please. If everyone who wants the vaccine gets it and is protected, yourself included, why should you worry about someone who doesn’t? If you want to take a risk of being permanently injured by the vaccine, be my guest, and remember the government has given the vaccine manufacturers immunity against lawsuits for injuries caused by their vaccines. Now why would the government do that?

  • I don’t even get the Flu Shot, I am NOT getting this Sh☠t! Nor will I get the “Chip” that is coming next. ☠💉👿.

  • Having spent over half of 2020 (April-Oct ) in a Coma and Life Support due to multiple Organ Shutdown (not Covid Related) due to several Auto Immune Disease’s please show me where to get my Vaccine. I don’t like checking out and not know I am leaving. I’m a retired Medical Professional, 61 yrs, and military widow and finally back home. I have seen what our medical Scientist over the years and with an Immune System that turns against me instead of keeping me safe, I say Please let me be in first vaccines I need all the help I can get. President Trump took it and he is alive and well as are others. The Polio Vaccine was another Vaccine that totally whipped out the Polio Epidemic.. That’s my take on the whole Covid-19 epidemic.. Common Sense . Semper Paratus

  • “I want go out to lunch. I want be NORMAL again!”
    That means that it’s once again the picnic chicken that makes you sick and not the pangolin?

  • Living Snoqualmie