What stunning news of not just one, but two (Pfizer and Moderna), emergency-use authorizations for the country’s first COVID-19 vaccines! Hallelujah.

Vaccinations are arriving, with a few hiccups. In the midst of this rapidly evolving mass vaccination, KCMS is asking for the details of ‘how’ the vaccine will be distributed – especially to our frontline healthcare workers.

I have been talking to a wide variety of governmental agencies about how to ensure that our physicians, and their staff, are queued up in an orderly, effective, and equitable manner. The complexity of the vaccine roll-out in the US, where individual state and local governments will set their own priorities, is quite a challenge. 

Workers in health care settings who serve patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, along with staff and residents, fall into Phase 1a.  Phase 1a in Washington includes:

1. Workers in health care settings who serve patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19,

2. The staff of long-term care facilities,

3. Residents of long-term care facilities.

Phase 1a began last week, and there are 24 million Americans in all of Phase 1 including 21 million healthcare workers, and 3 million residents of long-term care facilities (LTHCF). Up to 500,000 people in Washington are estimated to be in phase 1a. LTHCF’s include skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities (2).

Request: If you are not associated with a hospital, please DO NOT reach out to hospitals to ask when you can get your vaccines.  DOH is using recommendations for vaccine allocation from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and from the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices to guide their planning. Their planning is also informed by the communities, partners, sectors, and industries that are impacted by COVID-19 in Washington. Find Washington’s vaccine plan and phase 1a allocation guidance at

We have been told that if you ARE affiliated with a hospital, you will be contacted by that hospital, and added to the queue.

To Note:

1. This is an unprecedented mass vaccination campaign that is going to take a little patience. Thank you in advance.

2. There are between 25-50k physicians/staff not affiliated with a hospital, or about 5k separate medical groups, that currently do not have a method to receive the vaccine.  KCMS is advocating for you.

3. With over a dozen hospitals that could provide the vaccines, there is room for distribution of the vaccines to these non-affiliated groups.

4. Most hospitals have committed to providing 20% of the doses they are allocated to physicians & their teams that are not affiliated with the hospitals.

5. Washington state will receive between 300-400,000 vaccines in December, with similar numbers expected in January 2021.

6. It is anticipated that with this level of distribution there will be enough vaccines for all of our HCW, that fall into Category 1a, to receive their vaccine by mid to late January.

Thank you for your patience!

We are working hard to safeguard you, and your staff. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns via email. 

Nancy L. Belcher, Ph.D., MPA

CEO, King County Medical Society

This common visual that you may see should be shifted about 3 weeks further out for Phase 1b

See phase 1a for WA state as it stands today: 





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