December 15, 2020
Skagit County is very excited to announce that safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved and that initial vaccine distribution has begun in Washington State.
COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Multiple vaccines are under development and several are in large scale clinical trials with tens of thousands of volunteers to ensure they are both safe and effective. Skagit County Public Health is working with the Washington State Department of Health on vaccine distribution.
Washington State is in Phase 1a of vaccination which includes the following groups:
• High risk workers in health care settings
• High risk first responders
• Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings where most individuals over 65 years of age are receiving care, supervision, or assistance.
Phase 1a is defined at the federal and state level to preserve our critical health care workers and first responders and to protect those at highest risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19. The number of doses available in each area of the state is determined by federal and state government allocations based on population factors, priority group factors, and disease incidence.
COVID-19 vaccine is not anticipated to be widely available to the general public until later in spring and summer. Eventually vaccine will be available for everyone in all recommended groups.
Vaccine safety is a priority. All COVID-19 vaccines must go through a rigorous and multi-step testing, evaluation and approval process before they can be used. They will only be approved if they pass FDA’s safety and effectiveness standards. Vaccines will also be monitored for safety once they are given.
“A safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is very exciting news and a major scientific accomplishment,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “That said, it is important to keep in mind that a vaccine alone is not enough to end the pandemic. Even once the vaccine is widely available, it will be necessary to continue to follow all current safety guidance to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We understand that this has been a long road, however, we are now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
As more information is learned about the vaccines ability to limit transmission the CDC will update this guidance.
For more information and for the most up-to-date information, visit our vaccine webpage at https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusvaccine.htm.