OLYMPIA, Wash. — Everyone age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by April 15, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday. That moves up the eligibility timeline by a few weeks from the previous target date of May 1.
Among the reasons the state will open vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older is due to the "disturbing trend" of rising cases in areas of the state, according to Inslee's office.
By opening eligibility, it could help reduce the number of cases. The expanded eligibility comes at a time when more vulnerable Washingtonians are being vaccinated, but cases among young people are on the rise.
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On March 26, King County's top health official Dr. Jeff Duchin said recent King County data shows "there's a good chance we're looking at the beginning of a fourth wave."
The new date for expanded eligibility follows the announcement from President Joe Biden that at least 90% of the country's U.S. population would be eligible for vaccination by April 19 and many will have access to a vaccine site within five miles of their homes.
As of March 27, a total of 3,245,982 COVID-19 vaccines had been reportedly administered in Washington state, according to Washington State Department of Health data. The seven-day average for doses administered was 53,778. About 16% of Washingtonians are fully vaccinated.