COVID Vaccine Info

Current WA State DOH COVID Vaccine Eligibility Requirements

Please review this latest (1/15/21) Hot Topic with a detailed Q&A on current and planned COVID vaccine distribution efforts in the islands.

At this time, San Juan County Health & Community Services staff are authorized to vaccinate only those individuals  who are eligible for Phase 1a. Phase 1a is limited to healthcare workers, emergency responders, and long term care facility residents and staff. San Juan County Health & Community Services team is actively vaccinating Phase 1a eligible individuals.

-It is expected that the authorization to move to Phase 1b Tier 1 will be granted shortly, but please remember that vaccine supplies are still extremely limited, and it is estimated that approximately 4,000 San Juan County residents will qualify for the first Tier of Phase 1b.

-Individuals who are not in Phase 1a should not contact medical providers, local health agencies, or pharmacies to inquire about vaccine delivery at this time. Providers are all working hard to administer vaccine to Phase 1a individuals. Once Phase 1b Tier 1 opens, online scheduling tools will be made available to the public. 

-WA DOH has released eligibility requirements for Phase 1b. Details on that plan are here, or review this simple graphic. Availability of the vaccine supply will also impact local access to the vaccine. Remember, just because an individual is eligible does not automatically mean that the vaccine will be available immediately. As always, patience, thoughtfulness, and maintaining existing safety protocols is what will get us through.

-Primary means of vaccine distribution in the islands will be through local healthcare providers and pharmacies who have been approved by WA Department of Health to administer the vaccine.  

Useful links and resources:

CDC Vaccine Information Page

WA DOH Vaccine Information Page

Please see the most recent Frequently Asked Questions about COVID vaccine distribution.

Please see this update on the arrival of the first vaccine in San Juan County

What we know about the COVID Vaccine:

-San Juan County Health & Community Services understands there is tremendous demand for the vaccine from those who may not be included in Phase 1a. Please know that though every effort will be made to distribute vaccine rapidly and equitably, patience and empathy will get us through this. Timing, volume, and eligibility requirements are all outside of San Juan County control. The Health & Community Services team will continue to advocate on the islands’ behalf and plan for a robust and rapid distribution as soon as doses arrive. 

-Managing of our collective expectations is critical. Administration of vaccine will not be instantaneous. There will be shortfalls and delays in vaccine delivery to the islands. It will be many months until the supply necessary to vaccinate all island residents will be available. Even those individuals who are especially vulnerable to the disease may need to wait some time until immunizations are possible. 

-Current WA DOH estimates are that there will be enough vaccine in WA by early February to vaccinate approximately 7% of WA residents. The details of this forecast will change with time, but it is a useful number to help set expectations. 

-So far, all vaccines require two doses spread 21-28 days apart. Full protection is not achieved until fourteen days after the second dose, as the body needs time to develop maximum protection against the virus.

-It is important to understand that though the Moderna vaccine is thought to be 94% effective (average flu vaccine is 40- 60% effective), this means that 1 in 20 who receive the COVID vaccine are not protected. 

-As vaccine delivery ramps up, the islands need to maintain existing safety practices. Masking. Hygiene. Avoiding travel. Eliminating indoor social contacts. Ensuring that those who engage in higher-risk activities quarantine after doing so. Until the disease is truly under control, the risk of transmission remains, even from those who have been vaccinated. See this FAQ for more details.