Keeping you informed on vaccination eligibility and scheduling
from Whitney Abrams, Chief People Officer
Leaders in Public Health tell us that the next month or two will be especially important in determining the course of the coronavirus outbreak, with the threat from new variants increasing while we work to get more people protected through vaccination.
I’m so grateful to all who are taking steps to get vaccinated when it’s your turn, and to all who are learning more and getting your questions answered about COVID-19 vaccines. King County is currently in the state’s Phase 1a and Phase 1b, Tier 1 and Tier 2 for vaccine distribution.
Next Wednesday, March 31, the state tentatively plans to open Phase 1b tiers 3 and 4 of vaccine eligibility. Washington Department of Health guidance lists the following additional groups as becoming eligible under tiers 3 and 4:
- People 16 years or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions per the CDC’s list of the conditions that put people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- People 60 years and older
- People, staff, and volunteers in certain congregate living settings – specifically, correctional facilities, congregate settings where people experiencing homelessness live or access services, and group homes for people with disabilities
- Other at-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings – specifically, restaurants/food services, manufacturing, and construction.
Some King County staff work in construction jobs where they cannot socially distance, and will become eligible under Phase 1b tier 4. We’ll be working with departments to identify and support those workers in understanding their options for how to get vaccinated when they’re eligible. We’ll also continue supporting previously eligible employees in connecting to vaccination opportunities.
Many other King County employees also stand to become eligible on March 31 due to age or health conditions, so now is an important time to understand how to confirm your eligibility and understand your options.
Once Phase 1B tiers 3 and 4 are opened, I encourage newly eligible employees to look for open appointments. You’ll find the latest information at kingcounty.gov/vaccine.
- Confirm vaccine eligibility: Learn more about who is eligible at www.CovidVaccineWA.org and check your eligibility by using the Phase Finder: findyourphasewa.org
- Schedule an appointment
- Call your doctor’s office or health care provider to see if they have available vaccination appointments. Also, learn how get vaccinated through Kaiser Permanente (KP) here. KP welcomes both KP members and non-members at their COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
- Washington State’s Phase Finder online tool can confirm your eligibility and provide you with a list of possible vaccination locations. Phase Finder is available in multiple languages here.
- Visit Washington State Department of Health’s list of vaccine locations, organized by county. DOH also has a new quick search by zip code to find COVID-19 vaccine appointments near you.
- If you need language interpretation or can’t use the online Phase Finder tool, call the Washington state’s COVID-19 Assistance Hotline: Dial 1-800-525-0127 or 1-888-856-5816, then press #. Available Monday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Tuesday to Sunday and observed state holidays 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For language interpretation, state your preferred language when you are connected. Phone support is also available from the Public Health COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- WA COVID Vaccine Finder is a volunteer-driven effort to help Washingtonians find appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine: covidwa.com
- Community vaccination site at Lumen Field. If you live or work in King County and are eligible under Phase 1A through Phase 1B, Tier 4, you can sign up for this notification list and will be notified via email when appointments become available at any of the three City of Seattle fixed vaccination sites, including the Lumen Field Event Center.
Leave time: If your COVID-19 vaccine appointment occurs during a time you are scheduled to work, please follow regular procedures for requesting leave. Sick leave and COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave may be used for COVID-19 vaccine appointments as well as recovering from side effects.
After COVID-19 vaccination: Thank you for getting vaccinated and helping our communities get one step closer to overcoming this pandemic. After vaccination, it’s important to continue COVID-19 precautions to protect co-workers, friends, and family. Please follow Public Health’s guidance at www.kingcounty.gov/vaccine.
Finally, we have built a one-stop employee COVID-19 vaccines webpage where you can learn how to find out when you are eligible, how to schedule a vaccine, and much more.
Together, let’s continue our strong efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk for another serious wave of infections. Keep wearing masks, stay at least six feet apart from others, avoid crowds, and please get vaccinated when it’s your turn.