COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The COVID-19 vaccine is here in Washington. All of the vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA are currently being distributed across the state.

Washington State COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Below are the documents that Washington state has used to plan and implement vaccine rollout.

Vaccine Distribution FAQs

How will vaccine distribution work?

The CDC primarily will manage the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. The current plan is to distribute the vaccine through two mechanisms:

  • Use of a centralized distributor. This mechanism is similar to how we distribute vaccine through our Childhood Vaccine Program.
  • Direct shipments to Indian Health Services clinics; pharmacy chains; and large multi-state healthcare systems.

As part of this planning effort, the federal government and the state are considering many factors such as prioritization of high-risk groups, vaccine supply and distribution, logistics, safety, and clinical guidance. Because the current top three vaccine candidates all require different temperatures, properly transporting and storing the vaccine at the right temperature is a large concern and big part of the planning. Vaccine distribution will adjust over time as the number of available doses increases, moving from limited to broader populations in a phased approach.

Who are your partners in Washington state?

Since there are numerous decisions to make, we are engaging and coordinating with tribal nations, local government, community leaders, and others partners to develop and implement vaccination efforts. We are doing this because:

  • We need input on prioritization of the initial doses of vaccine, and how to best distribute it.
  • We want to support vaccinators in being ready to vaccinate the initial priority groups.

COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Prioritization

Framework for Vaccine Allocation and Prioritization in WA

Due to an initial limited supply of vaccine, we did not have enough to offer it to everyone. We had to make tough decisions about who would get the vaccine first. This is called vaccine allocation and prioritization. We developed Washington's framework for vaccine allocation and prioritization through an ongoing, robust public process. The framework balances federal guidance with the unique needs of our state and seeks to address health inequities that stem from historical injustices.

Washington State COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidance

Washington state's vaccine allocation and prioritization guidance (PDF) Updated March 24, 2021

Allocation FAQs

Here are some answers about how we allocate supply across the state.

When does DOH know how much COVID-19 vaccine Washington will get each week?

The CDC tells us on Tuesdays how much vaccine we will get for the following week.

The federal government now also gives us a 3-week allocation forecast. This is an estimate of how many first and second doses we should expect in the next three weeks. However, the forecast may change if the federal government's supply changes.

How do providers order vaccine for the next week?

Providers place vaccine orders in the state Immunization Information System (IIS). They should request the number of first and second doses they can give in 7 days.

Ordering in the IIS is open between Friday at 5:00 p.m. and Monday at 5:00 p.m. Vaccine arrives the next Monday or Tuesday, one week after ordering.

In addition to ordering in the IIS, providers must complete the weekly REDCap survey. This helps DOH decide how to allocate vaccine.

For more information on ordering, visit our Vaccine Ordering & Receiving Guide (PDF) or COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Schedule (PDF).

When are vaccine orders due?

Vaccine ordering in the IIS is open every week between Friday at 5:00 p.m. and Monday at 5:00 p.m. That means orders must be in by 5:00 p.m. every Monday. For more information on timing, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Schedule (PDF).

Can providers still place an order if they missed the deadline for the week?

Due to high demand and low supply, providers must place vaccine orders within the ordering window. DOH also only has a limited amount of time to get the information to the CDC.

Providers who cannot place an order within this window should email us at covid.vaccine@doh.wa.gov. However, we cannot guarantee that requests will be filled if a provider misses the deadline.

Why might a provider get COVID-19 vaccine one week but not the next?

We decide how to distribute vaccine doses based on:

Some of these factors change week to week, so we may adjust allocation to reflect that. Our goal is to ensure that people across the state and in high-risk groups have equitable access to the vaccine.

Will there be enough for second (booster) doses?

We set aside vaccine specifically for second doses. Second doses are ordered and allocated separately from first doses and are sent directly to providers. Providers should not give first doses as second doses. For more information, see our second-dose guidance for providers.

How should providers plan for second (booster) doses?

Providers submit orders for second doses in the state Immunization Information System (IIS). Orders placed between Friday and Monday will arrive the next Monday or Tuesday. So, providers should place second dose orders a week before they are needed. For more information, see our second-dose guidance for providers.

How soon after giving a COVID-19 vaccine do providers submit data?

Providers must submit COVID-19 vaccination data in the Immunization Information System (IIS) within 24 hours of giving a vaccine.

For more information on timing, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Schedule (PDF).

What if a provider didn't get a REDCap survey link?

Providers who do not get the weekly REDCap allocation survey should email us at covid.vaccine@doh.wa.gov.

How soon after submitting an order do providers know if they are getting vaccine next week?

Providers should know by Thursday if they are getting vaccine for the following week. We typically place orders for second doses on Wednesday evenings and first doses on Thursday evenings.

Providers can check the order status in the Immunization Information System (IIS) to see:

Where can providers find help placing vaccine orders in the IIS?

For detailed information about placing a vaccine order, use our quick reference guide for vaccine ordering and receiving (PDF), or view our video training on placing vaccine orders. Additional IIS guidance documents are in the IIS Training Portal.

Where can I direct allocation questions?

If you need help or have questions about vaccine allocations, contact covid.vaccine@doh.wa.gov.

How do you determine which providers get vaccine each week?

The CDC sets aside a specific number of COVID-19 vaccine doses for each state to distribute, called allocation. Right now, Washington state is not getting enough first and second doses to meet demand. We have to decide how to distribute, or allocate, this limited supply to providers across the state.

We ask all vaccine providers to complete a weekly REDCap allocation survey. The survey tells us how many doses providers are seeking for the following week. To decide how to distribute vaccine, we consider:

These factors help us decide how to best distribute vaccine across the state. However, supply is limited right now and there is not enough vaccine to go around. We also must ensure that people across the state and in high-risk groups have equitable access to the vaccine.

Vaccine providers must fill out the allocation survey every week as accurately as possible. Because supply is limited, filling out the survey does not guarantee that we can give providers the amount of vaccine they ask for. The survey helps us understand providers' need and capacity, which informs future allocation decisions.