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March 5, 2021

School Staff and Childcare Providers Added to Phase 1b-Tier 1

Earlier this week, President Biden announced a directive that all states must prioritize vaccinations of teachers and childcare workers. His goal is for each teacher and childcare worker to get at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March. To follow this directive, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) have added K-12 educators, school staff, and childcare workers to Washington’s current vaccination phase, which is Phase 1b-Tier 1, effective as of March 2, 2021.

Phase Finder (www.findyourphasewa.org) has been updated and is now functional with the new guidance.

Educators, school staff, and childcare providers will have the opportunity to schedule vaccine appointments through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will prioritize vaccinating school staff and childcare workers during the month of March. If you are a newly eligible, check with your employer to learn about priority appointments that may be available to you through the Federal Pharmacy Program. That said, all enrolled vaccine providers are directed to vaccinate these workers as they would anyone else currently eligible.

Vaccine providers will continue vaccinating people who were already in past and current phases, along with anyone newly eligible due to this directive. For a list of vaccine providers, visit: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/VaccineLocations.

“We know that this update may cause an assortment of emotions for people,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “Please know that Public Health is working closely with the Department of Health, fellow vaccine providers, and our school partners to ensure that those who are eligible have ample opportunity to receive vaccine.”

When vaccine supply allows, the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at the Fairgrounds location operates by appointment only. Eligible individuals can make appointments online at https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ when supply is available. Skagit County is currently vaccinating Phase 1a and Phase 1b-Tier 1 individuals.

Furthermore, Governor Inslee announced on March 3rd an updated projected timeline for making more Washingtonians eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Among these updates was the announcement that beginning March 22, workers in certain congregate settings will be eligible, as well as people age 16+ who are pregnant or who have a disability that puts them at higher risk. More direction on these changes will be provided in the coming days.

For COVID-19 vaccine questions, please visit www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine or call the Vaccine Hotline at (360) 416-1500, Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.