New vaccine guidelines expand eligibility, increase hope for reopening


Link Gazey

An estimated 216 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 87.6 million have been fully vaccinated with both doses. Art by Link Gazey.

Miles Gelatt, News Editor

Starting April 15, everybody who was 16 years or older in Washington State became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, per an announcement made by Governor Jay Inslee on Mar. 31. This is a much earlier date than the original one of May 1 that the governor had initially set. The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases have started to rise all across the state, especially among young people, stoking fears that the country might soon experience a fourth wave of the virus. 

In his press announcement, Inslee stressed the importance of the state to “not get complacent” with the virus and urged people to help keep the number of cases down across the state. 

“If we get vaccinated and continue the health practices that keep those around us healthy – masks, distancing and basic hygiene – we’re going to knock this virus down. … We feel like we are done with COVID, but this virus is not done with us yet,” Inslee said.

As of April 22, roughly 5.2 million people in Washington state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 2.1 million have been fully vaccinated, receiving the full two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Six days after Inslee’s announcement, President Joe Biden announced that the deadline for all U.S. adults to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine would be moved up to April 19. Biden’s original deadline was May 1, the same as Inslee’s. Since this deadline was implemented, the U.S. is vaccinating roughly 3 to 4 million Americans every day against COVID-19, per the CDC. 

  “Back on March 11, I outlined a vision of what America could look like by the 4th of July – an America that was much closer to normal life that we left behind more than a year ago. We remain on track for that goal. In the weeks since then, more than 120 million have been given – since I announced the July 4th proposal. More of our kids are back in school and after a long and painful year, more grandparents are able to hug their grandkids again,” Biden said during his Apr. 21 remarks marking the administering of 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses in the US.

The President also said that he’d like the U.S. to send COVID-19 vaccines abroad, but said that there “isn’t enough confidence” to do so. 

“We’re looking at what is going to be done with some of the vaccines that we are not using. We want to make sure they are safe to be sent, and we hope to be able to be of some help and value to countries around the world,” Biden said.

An estimated 583,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 as of April 22, according to Johns Hopkins University. Approximately 216 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country and about 87.6 million people have been fully vaccinated with both doses, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.