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Where does Washington state stand with COVID-19 vaccinations?

State and federal numbers do not match up as health leaders try to get at least 70% of the population vaccinated.

For six months it's been a mad dash to get COVID-19 shots into arms in Washington state. But lately, that demand has ebbed as vaccines continued to flow.  

The state has resorted to motivate people to get shots through the lottery.

"I think the expectations of what we have had with respect to vaccine supply have exceeded what I thought would happen in January and February," said Dr. Larry Corey, world-renowned virologist and friend of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Corey is a big believer in vaccines, saying COVID-19 "altered the Earth, but we are now altering how we handle the virus with this rapid development."

As more people become vaccinated, the number of people hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 is dropping. 

But just how many of us have received at least one dose?

According to information from the state's Department of Health, based on people 16 and older, 67.2% of people were vaccinated as of June 15. 

Meanwhile, the CDC slides the numbers differently, because they calculate different numbers. The CDC looks at people 18 and older. Based on that standard, according to information distributed by Gov. Jay Inslee's Office, 71.1% of people are vaccinated. 

In a statement on vaccination numbers and reopening, Inslee said the state uses the most recent Census data from 2020, while the federal government is using older data. Additionally, the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration federal vaccination programs do not share person-level data with the state.

"I said this last week, but it bears repeating: We need to compare apples to apples," Inslee said. "Many on social media have chosen to compare data that don’t belong together, giving Washingtonians incomplete or misinformed data on our progress."

Corey said even 70% is below where the state really needs to be.

"I honestly believe, to get full control of this, I think it would have to get into the mid-80s," he said.

Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for Snohomish County, said we are where we are.

"I'm not in the business of making recommendations to the governor. I think we are where we're at. He and his advisors set that threshold and it's really theirs to decide when to launch or to just wait it out until June 30. I abstain from that."

Washington state is set to fully reopen June 30. Inslee said that could be sooner if at least 70% of the state's residents get vaccinated.

"Many people, myself included, are eager for our state to fully reopen," Inslee said. "I have said repeatedly we are going to do this on June 30 or when we hit 70% of people 16 and up initiating vaccinations – whichever happens first. We use age 16 and up as that population was eligible when we made the announcement.

“I am hopeful Washingtonians will get vaccinated for their own health and that of their loved ones, and to help move our state closer to a full reopening.

“For those who would advocate changing our strategy, we are on the two-yard line. We are not going to change the game plan now. We are going to see this through."

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