Recent Coronavirus Updates March 2021
It’s been a doozy of a year and while all of our coronavirus updates have included new developments and information, we think this is the most hopeful one yet. This is the first coronavirus update we have provided since vaccines have been rolling out across more of the population.
March 18, 2021
Our last update mentioned that vaccines first arrived in the state in late December. At that time, we had just over 350,000 doses, most of which had not been delivered yet. As of March 11, Washington state was averaging over 45,000 doses delivered per day.
The rate of vaccinations being delivered is sure to continue to increase as time continues. New groups of people are becoming eligible over time, allowing more and more of the population to get closer to being fully vaccinated.
There’s always so much new information coming in about COVID-19, it can be hard to keep up and stay in the know. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about our state so you don’t have to wonder. Here’s what you should know:
How many people are currently vaccinated?
As of March 17, over 900,000 people in Washington state have been fully vaccinated. That’s about 12% of the state’s population.
Keep in mind that this number doesn’t represent the people who are partially vaccinated. That may be people who have received their first dose and are waiting for their second, or those who have received both doses and have not finished the two-week waiting period for full immunity.
The main vaccines in Washington are from Moderna and Pfizer. Both of these vaccines require two doses for full immunity, with weeks in between each dose. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, a one-time option, is also available in the state in lower quantities.
How have vaccines impacted COVID cases?
As of March 17th, Washington state had a 7-day average of 699 cases. While this is significantly down from December (with one 7-day average reaching 3,411 cases), officials worry that these plateauing cases may still be a cause for concern.
Cases have been plateauing, rather than dropping. While it is positive that cases are not going up, it’s not as simple as that.
Officials worry about a fourth wave alongside new variants of the virus. In fact, all three variants were discovered in Washington state in some cases. These variants originated from Brazil, South Africa, and the UK.
However, demographics are important to look at when examining vaccination efficacy. Many Washingtonians are still not eligible for a vaccination, but rates among those who are eligible seem to be decreasing.
For example, hospital admission rates for people over 70 years-old have dropped, which is a positive. Additionally, experts suggest a “rapid decline” is on its way for this demographic as more people over 65 years-old receive their vaccines.
On the other hand, though, cases among adults 20-40 years-old are rising again. The Department of Health has stated that spikes in cases among this demographic have previously led to spikes in cases for the general population.
Long story short, vaccinations are providing some hope for the future, but we still have a ways to go before we are in the clear.
Who is eligible for vaccinations right now?
Vaccines are not currently available for everyone. President Biden announced recently that all Americans will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1st. However, we are currently vaccinating Americans in phases based on their risk levels.
As of March 17th, we are in Phase 1B tier 2 of vaccine distribution. Anyone who fits in the following categories is eligible for a COVID vaccine:
- High risk workers in agriculture, fishing vessel crews, grocery stores/food banks, food processing, corrections centers, court of law, public transit, and first responders who still need a vaccine
- Adults 65 and over
- People 16 years or older with a disability or pregnancy that puts them at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection
- People 50 years and older living in a multigenerational household
- All at-risk workers in healthcare
- Educators, school staff, and childcare workers
- People living or working in long term care facilities
If you do not fit into any of these categories, you are not currently eligible for a COVID vaccine. The following dates and details for upcoming phases are just estimations:
- April 12th: This phase is for people 50 years and older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions.
- April 26th: Following that, people 16 years and older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions are applicable. Additionally, people, staff, and volunteers in congregate living settings will become eligible. This includes corrections facilities, group homes for disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness who live in or use services in congregate settings.
The Washington Department of Health shows that information for future vaccination groups in the spring and summer is coming soon. As we know from President Biden’s announcement, it’s likely that we will not have to wait until summer for everyone to be eligible for vaccinations.
Still not sure if you are eligible for a vaccination right now? Use this handy phase finder to see if you qualify.
We hope you are all staying healthy during this prolonged difficult time. There’s no doubt the last year has brought on many changes and uncertainty.
As we move closer towards more of the population being vaccinated, we can prepare for a slow return to normalcy as the months go on. We have a ways to go, but many of us are beginning to see a light at the end of the long tunnel.
Don’t neglect to take care of yourself as we continue to navigate this together. If you are feeling overwhelmed or need a break, be sure to set some time aside for self care.
Continue to wash your hands, wear your mask, and social distance to protect yourself and others.
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