Waiting is hard.

After weeks of speculation, the Washington State Department of Health released more information in early January about when the general population can start receiving coronavirus vaccines. The state used federal guidance and feedback from about 20,000 Washingtonians to determine prioritization for “phase 1B.” Equity guided the decision-making process. “This approach prioritizes population groups that have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 due to external social factors and systemic inequities,” the state reported.

This comes after health care workers, as well as long-term care residents and staff, began getting their shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and NIH-Moderna vaccines in December (here are some basics on vaccination). Below you’ll find these groups and others in Washington’s vaccine line in list form, as well as a handy graphic from the state. The list is not comprehensive yet, and remember, the date projections are just that—estimations. The vaccine rollout got off to a rocky start and may lead to delays down the road.

We’ll keep this up-to-date as we learn more.

Phase 1A

Tier 1 (started in December 2020):

  • High-risk workers in health care settings
  • High-risk first responders
  • Residents and staff at 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

Tier 2 (started in December 2020)

  • All workers in health care settings

Phase 1B

Washington State's Vaccine Distribution Infographic


Tier 1 (projected to start in mid-January 2021)

  • Everyone 70 years and older
  • People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households

Tier 2 (projected to start in February 2021)

  • High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in congregate settings in:
    • Agriculture
    • Food processing
    • Grocery stores
    • K-12 schools (teachers and school staff)
    • Childcare
    • Corrections, prisons, jails, or detention facilities (staff)
    • Public transit
    • Fire
    • Law enforcement

Tier 3 (projected to start in March 2021)

  • People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying conditions

Tier 4 (projected to start in April 2021)

  • High-risk critical workers under 50 years old who work in the congregate settings listed in Tier 2
  • People, staff and, volunteers of all ages in congregate living settings:
    • Correctional facilities
    • Group homes for people with disabilities
    • People experiencing homelessness that live in or access services in congregate settings

Future Phases (i.e., everyone else)

No information yet on phases 2, 3, and 4, but the state’s graphic indicates these vaccinations would begin in May.