Two million more Washingtonians will soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

SPOKANE, Wash. — Two million more Washingtonians will soon be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Hospital leaders say it’s a big step in potentially avoiding a fourth surge in Washington.

“We would rather have COVID be on its way out and it doesn’t feel that way,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO for the Washington State Hospital Association.

According to a chart released by the New York Times, only 17% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated. 29% have had at least one dose.

“Our cases are kind of going up and down and they’re changing regionally,” said Sauer.

That’s why medical leaders across Washington are eager to get the ball rolling.

Those who qualify under Phase 1B Tier 3 include people 16 years and older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions. People 60 and up can also get their shot under the new phase.

Those under 1B Tier 4 can also get vaccinated. This includes residents, staff, and volunteers in congregate living settings such as prisons, group homes, and homeless shelters. At-risk critical workers in congregate settings such as restaurants or those who work in construction are also eligible.

“A lot of states are accelerating phases even faster. I think that’s worth considering. We’re hopeful we can get through the next phase,” said Sauer.

Unlike states like Idaho who have enough supply but not enough demand, Washington has been dealing with the opposite.

According to the Department of Health, providers across Washington will be getting more of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting this week.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I think we can’t let our guard down,” said Dr. Dan Getz, CEO of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

“We’re really providing a service to people that will in fact save their lives or save the lives of people that they love,” said Sauer.

If you’re eligible to get the vaccine, there are several ways you can make an appointment. Providence Medical Center also has plenty of spots open for those who are eligible.

RELATED: Vaccine Information HQ