Washington Dept. of Health to vaccine providers: Use your doses or we’ll send them elsewhere

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Health had a blunt message to vaccine administrators on Thursday: use your doses or we will send them elsewhere.

The DOH reduced vaccine shipments to 39 providers across the state because they did not use 95 percent of their doses within one week of receiving them, which is required under Governor Jay Inslee’s vaccine plan.

Those vaccines are not going to waste, though; they are instead being shipped elsewhere across the state in order for them to be used, which the DOH said has proven to be successful.

“This is one of the ways we’re helping balance the high demand,” said Michele Roberts with the DOH. “That vaccine is being used in our state.”

This past week, Washington received 107,000 vaccine doses, which is a third of what was requested. The state has divvied those up as follows:

  • 19% Community health centers
  • 23% Hospitals
  • 36% Mass vaccination sites
  • 19% Pharmacies
  • 3% Tribes & Urban Indian Health Programs

The state is learning about its allocation week by week, which has made it harder for local providers to plan.

“This is a huge logistical lift for all providers on the ground,” said Roberts. “We’ve not been able to provide much predictability for providers and so that’s made their planning on the local level really challenging.”

Starting next week, the state will receive three weeks notification about vaccine supply from the federal government. The DOH said they hope this will help local providers iron out issues and get more vaccinations in arms.