The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Washington and will be administered to high-risk health workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
In a press release, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) says that they expect to receive 62,400 doses of vaccine this week. The first distribution will go to 17 sites across 13 counties.
According to the release, the Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine given 21 days apart. Clinical trial data show the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting seven days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until one to two weeks after they receive the second dose.
“We believe that if everything goes according to plan, we’ll have most people in Washington vaccinated by mid-summer,” said Michele Roberts, one of the leaders of the DOH COVID-19 vaccine planning group. “The rapid development of these vaccines, with such a high rate of efficacy, is a historic achievement, and will help us defeat COVID-19.”
The federal government will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the DOH COVID-19 vaccine information page: Health care providers may charge an office visit fee, or a fee to give the vaccine and health insurance most likely will cover these fees.
The information page also states that Washington is not currently considering any mandates for the vaccine, but employers could require it.