Vaccine FAQ 4.0
For obvious reasons vaccine roll-out is the very definition of a hot topic at the moment (and likely for many months to come). This Q&A will attempt to explain and highlight some current information. A few important things first:
-This is the fourth in a series of vaccine Hot Topics. It is the latest information, but it may also be useful to review previous editions by going to www.sjccovid.com and clicking on the Hot Topics section.
-Even the members of the Vaccine Team at San Juan County Health & Community Services don’t have all the information or answers. Many of the most critical pieces of info and direction come from the State or Federal government. Sometimes that information changes with no notice, sometimes your public health responders hear about it via the media the same time as the general public.
-For some time to come, demand will exceed supply. Just to be clear: demand for vaccine will drastically exceed supply until production matches the need. Patience and maintaining existing safety protocols will be vital.
-Local medical providers and pharmacies will play a critical role in vaccinating our community. This Q&A will focus on the San Juan County response but know that there are a number of local organizations working hard to get approval from DOH so they can receive supplies and begin administering doses.
Did the County lose any vaccine supply due to the power outage?
No. The freezers used to store the County’s vaccine supply have back-up power, and are equipped with data loggers that track the temperature within – allowing for an easy check on whether the vaccine has been maintained within the required temperature range.
It is unrelated to the outage, but the County has had to return 60 doses of vaccine to Moderna due to the vials not thawing properly before injection. The County has yet to be notified of the cause of the problem.
When will the County finish with Phase 1a and move to Phase 1b?
It is expected that nearly all Phase 1a eligible individuals in San Juan County will be vaccinated by the end of the day on January 15th. This includes healthcare workers, first responders, and long-term care facility residents and staff.
There will still be opportunities for any remaining 1a islanders who have yet to be vaccinated to receive doses going forward.
At the time of writing, WA State DOH has not yet authorized the move to Phase 1b, but that decision is expected to be announced very shortly (if indeed it hasn’t happened already).
Please remind me again, who is in Phase 1b, and what about after that?
The full Phase 1b guidance from WA DOH is online here, and this simple graphic helps explain Phase 1b and the four tiers that break it into four distinct groups (based on priority). There is currently no information on phases beyond 1b.
Note that for reasons that are not totally clear, DOH has used several different terms for describing Phase 1b and its four tiers. Sometimes they say 1B1 with means Phase 1b, Tier 1. Some documents describe the four tiers as B1, B2, B3, B4. Either way, the Phase after 1a is called 1b. It is divided into four sections. There is no information yet on what is beyond Phase 1b.
Yes, you are correct, this is confusing.
Regardless of exact terminology, Phase 1b – Tier 1 includes:
-Anyone over the age of 70
-Those over the age of 50 living in a multigenerational household. The term multigenerational household is a bit vague – but here are the specifics (courtesy of these more detailed DOH guidelines):
An eligible member of a multigeneration household is defined as someone who has high vulnerability (e.g., an individual over the age of 50 who cannot live independently and is being cared for by a relative or in-home caregiver) or who has high risk of exposure (e.g., an individual over the age of 50 who is living with someone who works outside the home, or an individual over the age of 50 taking care of a grandchild)
This category does not include older adults who are able to live independently and are taking care of their own children.