Gov. Jay Inslee announced yesterday that all Washingtonians over the age of 16 would be eligible for the vaccine starting April 15.
The announcement comes as COVID cases around the state are on the rise, a trend that coincided with eased reopening restrictions: Restaurants, gyms, and other businesses can now operate at 50 percent capacity. In the past several weeks, many of the recent outbreaks have come from restaurants, bars, and travel, according to King County Public Health Officer Dr Jeff Duchin.
A number of other states have announced quicker-than-expected rollouts of the vaccine: 34 states have since opened up vaccine eligibility to include all adults in the coming days and weeks.
Less than two weeks ago, Inslee declared a wider net for vaccine eligibility, which took effect just yesterday (March 31).
Until vaccines open up for those ages 16+, the following groups are eligible as of now:
- Anyone with two or more comorbidities
- Anyone between the ages of 60 and 64
- Anyone living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.)
- Additional workers in congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction)
“Because our doses are increasing and our daily vaccination rates remain around our goal, we are thrilled to announce that we can get this vaccine to more Washingtonians sooner than we initially thought,” Inslee said in his March 18 announcement. “I encourage everyone, especially those who were among the first eligible but haven’t gotten a dose, to take advantage of this life-saving instrument.”
As for getting the vaccine in Ballard, there are a few options: Both Safeways in Ballard (1423 NW Market St and 8340 15th Ave NW) are offering appointments. You can schedule your jab here. If no dates are listed, all appointments have been filled. They ask that you check back later; don’t call the pharmacy to ask about future openings.
Despite eased restrictions and vaccine eligibility expansion, Gov. Inslee is urging Washingtonians to hunker down for awhile longer to help curb the recent spike in cases.
“Current COVID-19 trends across the state are concerning, and we must do everything possible to ensure we keep cases down,” Inslee shared on Twitter yesterday.
“Now is the time to stay diligent. We’re not out of the woods yet. Opening up full eligibility will be another crucial tool in our fight against this virus.”
King County’s Department of Health also has an online vaccine finder tool which provides a list of nearby vaccine sites.