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Frontline workers cleared for vaccine

Essential frontline workers, such as grocery store employees, will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines later this month, Gov. Jay Inslee announced March 4.

Others set to be vaccinated starting March 22 include workers in agriculture, food processing, public transit, firefighters, law enforcement and corrections.

Previously, only essential workers age 50 or older who were defined as high-risk were going to be eligible.

Also in the next tier are people 16 and older who have a high-risk disability and pregnant women.

They join K-12 educators and childcare workers, who were recently added to the eligibility list.

On April 12, the state plans to start vaccinating Washingtonians age 50 or older with two or more health conditions, and on April 26, those with multiple conditions age 16 or older and individuals living in congregate settings, like prisons or homeless shelters, are slated to begin receiving vaccines.

Inslee made clear these plans are based on estimates of the number of vaccines the state will receive and are dependent on receiving adequate supply.

“I feel pretty confident that the supply chain will remain as we have estimated,” Inslee said. “The Biden administration has been very transparent with us. They have come through and...there's no reason they've given us to doubt this particular supply chain.”

In the current phase, the vaccine is available to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who live in a multigenerational household. This is in addition to groups eligible during previous phases like health care workers at high-risk for infection, first responders and people who work in long-term care facilities.

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