For months, Janelle Pfeifer was frightened when a customer entered the Pike Place Market restaurant where she works. Sometimes he feels more like a babysitter than a restaurant worker. He constantly reminds the dinners to get up from their table and put the masks back.
The restaurant has precautions, such as temperature control, for anyone who enters. But that disappointed 29-year-old Pfeiffer, who said his colleagues were not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, even after restaurants moved 50% of their in-house lunch.
“All this time we felt like we were being treated like mainstream workers because the restaurants had to be open,” Pfeiffer said. “But at the same time we were not, because we were not about that [eligibility] list “.
That changed Wednesday when Pfeifer, along with nearly 2 million other Washington residents, became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine under the state’s priority program.
1B, 3rd և 4th stages include all 60 և more people. People 16 և older who have two or more basic health conditions. restaurant, food service, production և construction workers in collective conditions. մարդիկ People who live, work or volunteer in things such as prisons, group homes;: places where homeless people live or receive services.
Health officials և Vaccination sites are preparing for the influx of people looking for appointments alongside other groups of about 3 million people who are already eligible, such as 65-year-olds, K-12 educators, health workers, and other workers. high risk environments.
For example, the Auvergne Community Vaccine site has been relocated to the Auburn Outlet Collection Mall, which can accommodate six times as many appointments as the General Services administration complex.
Officials urged to be patient, noting that there are more requests than dosages. According to the Washington Department of Health, the state received 408,730 doses this week, with 238,050 first doses և 170,680 second doses. About 3.25 million doses of the vaccine have been given in the state so far, and 27% of the population has received at least one dose.
“It will take perseverance և patience to get in, try to register, և eventually we want to և we will get full vaccinations for anyone who wants to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Snohomish Health District Health Officer, Tuesday at a media briefing.
Restaurant staff in particular advocated for them to be included in the list of vaccine eligibility, especially after grocery store employees in a high-risk, necessary work environment, etc., were deemed appropriate by others.
“I would like to see the restaurant staff as one of the first responders, teachers and those who were at risk, obviously they should go first,” said Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. “But when we had the pleasure of taking care of those people, I would like to see our employees go next. But at the same time, we are glad they are there now. ”
Also on Wednesday, the state will stop using Phase Finder, an online questionnaire used by vaccine suppliers to prove that someone is eligible for the vaccine. The removal of Phase Finder will help speed up the vaccination process by “reducing barriers,” said Assistant Secretary of Health Mikel Roberts, until the state has until May 1 to extend the power to all adults in Washington.
This means that someone who is not eligible can still register, but Roberts said in a statement that the board trusts that most people will wait their turn.
“Getting vaccinated in your turn may mean someone at higher risk than you,” Spitters said. “This includes the elderly, people with many underlying medical conditions, high-risk workers in public places, many of whom are still seeking vaccination.”
Pfeiffer, a restaurant worker, plans to be vaccinated this week. He will still take the same precautions as before, but he will feel a little better after going to work.
“It will seem like a breath of fresh air,” he said. “I’m going to go to work to feel more protected.”