Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

State's online eligibility tool no longer required

 

Last updated 4/1/2021 at 11:18am



OLYMPIA — Phase Finder, the state’s online vaccine eligibility tool, is no longer be required to verify COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. The move was effective beginning March 31, according to a March 29 news release.

Individuals who wish to receive a vaccine should now check the Department of Health’s prioritization guidance webpage to determine when they are eligible to get vaccinated. Those who are eligible can then use the department’s Vaccine Locator to find an appointment.

After March 30, those who visit the Phase Finder site will be directed to Vaccine Locator. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has informed vaccine providers of this change, and has asked that providers no longer require Phase Finder to schedule an appointment or ask for it when patients arrive for their appointment.

Vaccine Locator is available in 30 languages and will add seven more languages by the end of April. Those who have further questions or need help making an appointment can call the state’s COVID-19 information hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #. Language assistance is available.

While Phase Finder is going away, the state’s vaccine phases are staying the same. The state remains in Phase 1B2, and on March 31, vaccine eligibility opened to people in Phase 1B tiers 3 and 4. This expansion will add about 2 million people to the roughly 3 million currently eligible for vaccine. This includes people 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions, people age 60 and older, people, staff and volunteers in certain congregate living settings, and high-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings

“The goal is to vaccinate as many vulnerable community members as fast as possible before opening vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years and older in just a few weeks. Removing Phase Finder will help speed up the process by reducing barriers for eligible individuals,” Michele Roberts, one of the state leaders for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, said in a news release. “We trust most people will continue to do the right thing and wait their turn to be vaccinated.”

According to DOH, over 1 million Washington residents are now fully vaccinated and over 3 million doses have been administered since the vaccine rollout began in mid-December 2020. Nearly 15% — more than one out of every seven Washingtonians — has been fully vaccinated, which means they have received a second dose of a two-dose vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or one dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Trials and studies have shown COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.

The mass vaccination site at the Spokane Arena is administering both first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine this week. First dose appointments should be made online using the Safeway/Albertson’s registration system.

If receiving a second dose, bring your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card received when getting the first dose and it will be honored. You can receive your second dose at the Spokane site even if you received your first dose elsewhere.

Spokane administers the Moderna vaccine, which is a two-dose series authorized for people 18 and older. The second dose should be administered one month (28 days) after the first dose.

Since opening in mid-January, the Spokane mass vaccination site has administered 34,775 doses through March 26. All total, the state’s four mass vaccination sites have administered 153,480 dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

Author Bio

John McCallum, Managing Editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Cheney Free Press for over 20 years. He has received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories. He has been serving as editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald since March 2020.

Email: jmac@cheneyfreepress.com
Phone: 509-235-6184
https://www.facebook.com/john.mccallum.98
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