Washington State University is encouraging all community members to see whether they are currently eligible to receive the COVID‑19 vaccine using the State of Washington’s new Phase Finder tool.
The tool consists of a series of questions related to your health and living situation. Those eligible will receive confirmation and be shown locations where they can receive the vaccine. Upon arriving for their vaccination, they will then show medical staff Phase Finder’s eligibility confirmation screen, printed or taken as a screenshot on a mobile device.
Anyone not currently eligible to receive the vaccine under the state’s phased distribution can provide contact information and will receive updates from the Washington State Department of Health.
“Phase Finder will provide guidance as Washington moves through its vaccination phases—these will be dynamic as outlined by Governor Inslee and the online tool will be the best resource for both establishing eligibility for vaccination and links to when and where to get vaccinated,” said Guy Palmer, professor of pathology and infectious diseases and one of the leaders of WSU’s COVID‑19 task force.
He continued, “The approved vaccines are safe, effective, and are the only pathway to confidently return to pre-pandemic life.”
Having a tool like Phase Finder enables the public to get direct information on their eligibility and be more involved in the process, Ben Stone, Whitman County’s public information officer, said.
“It’s important for people to start having conversations early on and to make plans for when they are eligible to receive the vaccine,” Stone said.
Following through on plans will be key, though eligibility does not guarantee an immediate appointment due to counties grappling with a limited vaccine supply.
Medical providers in the state of Washington have given more than 290,000 doses of the COVID‑19 vaccine since the beginning of Phase 1A. Those eligible for vaccination during Phase 1A include high-risk health care workers, high-risk first responders, and residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other community-based congregative living where most individuals are over the age of 65 and receive care, supervisor or assistance.
With Washington moving into Phase 1B, state health officials are urging those eligible to be vaccinated under Phase 1A but haven’t yet to do so. Those eligible for vaccination under Phase 1B include people at high to moderate risk under four criteria:
- Risk of acquiring infection
- Risk of severe morbidity and mortality
- Risk of negative societal impact
- Risk of transmission to others
People age 70 or older as well as those who are 50 years old or older who live in multigenerational households are considered in the first tier under Phase 1B. Tier two includes high-risk critical workers age 50 or older who work in certain congregate settings. Tier three is people 16 years of age or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions. Tier four is high risk critical workers under 50 who work in certain congregate settings, as well as people in congregate living settings such as jails or group homes for people with disabilities as well as people experiencing homelessness that live in shelters or temporary housing.
The Washington State Department of Health has a vaccine prioritization guide available online.