SEATTLE — Washington state has rolled out a more robust version of an online tool that determines eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday that the next vaccine phase, known as Phase 1B, would start immediately. He also announced a lower age threshold for the first tier of Phase 1B to include people 65 and older. Previously, it was people over 70. This tier will also include people over 50 years old who live in multigenerational households.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) initially rolled out the PhaseFinder pilot in early January, but at the time it only determined eligibility for Phase 1A, which includes high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents.
The survey now asks questions related to Phase 1B, which has four tiers that also include high-risk critical workers and people with underlying health conditions.
People can check boxes to indicate if they have cancer, diabetes, a heart condition or a weakened immune system or if they are an essential worker like an educator, grocery store employee or public transit worker.
If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, you can enter your name and contact information to receive a confirmation message to show to a vaccine provider to demonstrate eligibility. You can find a list of vaccine providers on DOH's website. If you are not eligible, you can still enter your contact information to be alerted when it’s your turn.
Contact information will remain private and will not be used for other purposes.
While the online tool will walk you through each step, it does not arrange a vaccination appointment, location or date.
Nigel Taber-Hamilton, who lives on Whidbey Island, is among those eager to receive the coronavirus vaccine. He was quick to use the state's new PhaseFinder today.
“At the age of 67, I was pretty sure I was going to be told that I wasn't eligible,” Taber-Hamilton said.
As of Monday, he's now eligible since the governor announced the lower age threshold of 65 to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B.
“What it'll mean to me is relief,” said Taber-Hamilton. “Even though I'm very healthy, other people who are very healthy have died of this so it's really a fearful time. Getting the vaccine will really be a relief for me, and then when my wife can get the vaccine, then it'll be total relief.”