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  • Writer's pictureAP NEWS

All Washington residents 16 and up will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines by May 1

SEATTLE (AP) — State officials have confirmed that everyone 16 and older in Washington state can get in line for a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1.

Officials confirmed the timeline on Wednesday, The Seattle Times reported.

The state Department of Health has accelerated its tiered approach to vaccine eligibility following President Joe Biden’s direction to states earlier this month to make the vaccine available to all adults by then.

The state, which currently offers vaccines to health-care workers, long-term care residents, people 65 and older and others, hadn’t clarified specifically whether Washington would comply.

“We will follow the president’s directive that everyone 16 and older will be eligible for vaccine May 1,” Department of Health spokesperson Shelby Anderson said in an email.

Three million people are now eligible for a vaccine in Washington, and another 2 million will be cleared Wednesday when the state adds Phase 1B tiers three and four, which includes all people 60 and older.

Further expansion by May 1, to comply with Biden’s directive, would add another 1.2 million Washingtonians to the pool, according to state estimates.

Since COVID-19 vaccinations began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have given 2,882,195 doses and 14.12% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated, according to vaccination data. Providers are currently administering an average of about 45,841 vaccine shots per day.

Since the pandemic began, the state has recorded more than 350,000 COVID-19 cases and over 5,000 deaths, according to the state Department of Health online dashboard. Those numbers include 960 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths reported on Wednesday.

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