All Washingtonians over age 16 will be eligible for COVID vaccine starting April 15

All Washingtonians over the age of 16 will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine starting on April 15, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on March 31.

The move comes as President Joe Biden put pressure on each state to have all adults vaccinated by May 1.

"One of the reasons we are choosing to open up vaccine eligibility is a disturbing trend of rising cases in many parts of our state. We want to do everything possible to ensure that we can keep cases down. Opening up full eligibility is one tool to help in the fight against the virus," Inslee's office said. 

Vaccinations began on Dec. 15 in the state of Washington for healthcare workers, and four months to the day, it will be available for all residents who want it. 

Inslee had previously resisted expanding eligibility too quickly, saying he wanted to ensure those most at risk were vaccinated first and noting eligibility didn’t guarantee vaccination right away and would depend on supply.

But he said the federal government’s assurances of increased allocations, plus concerns about rising cases in many parts of the state, led to the decision to expand eligibility sooner.

"We still don’t have the supply to make this available to everyone today, so many of us are going to have to have continued patience," Inslee said. "But I’m so happy about the rate of the vaccination we now are obtaining in the state of Washington."

Inslee's office said the federal government will continue to increase allocations of the vaccine for Washington state. 

The eligibility announcement comes a day after the state got rid of its vaccine eligibility finder online. 

Right now, only those who are currently eligible will be able to make appointments, meaning, if you are newly eligible, you shouldn't make an appointment until you are eligible. 

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