The Puget Sound region, like much of the United States, is taking on a new challenge in early 2021 – vaccinating the population against coronavirus.
The country marked the New Year holidays with more than 20 million COVID-19 cases, in which 347,788 people were killed, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Many non-fatal cases cause neural or sensory damage.
Washington state is launching its vaccination schedule to resume supplies today after a one-day stop on Jan. 1.
As of December 23, the Department of Health reports 153,925 doses distributed to 220 locations and 18,825 doses sent to long-term care facilities and Native American health care providers. Another 57,525 cans are expected to arrive this week.
Later in January, Washington State plans to rely on an “honor system,” whereby residents complete an online questionnaire called PhaseFinder to determine eligibility to receive the vaccines. The goal of the state is to vaccinate people as quickly as possible and not to question them. You can read a Seattle Times story about the strategy here.
So far, the vaccine has been reserved for high-risk doctors, first-aiders, employees and patients in long-term care facilities. It is likely that the next categories, known as Phase 1b, will include people age 75 and older, as well as key workers in the grocery, agriculture, U.S. postal, manufacturing, and grocery sectors.
While On Saturday, this page will be used to post updates from Seattle Times journalists on the outbreak and its impact on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Friday can be found Hereand all of our coronavirus coverage can be found Here.
The chart below shows the latest numbers released by the Washington State Department of Health, reflecting counts as of Wednesday evening, December 30th.
Washington State’s new law now limits monthly insulin copay to $ 100
Many Washington residents with diabetes will find it easier to buy insulin this year as a law places a cap of $ 100 on patient co-payments.
The law applies to all health insurance plans issued or renewed after January 1 that cover insulin medication. It includes language to protect individuals with high deductible insurance from paying more than $ 100 per 30-day supply.
Approximately 686,000 people in Washington state have diabetes, and 226,300 are dependent on insulin. In 2017, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the state, according to the Department of Health.
Diabetes is a potential risk factor for COVID-19 complications.
Read the whole story here.
– Mike Lindblom
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