Skip to main content

It was a busy Thursday night at the UW Medicine Montlake and Northwest vaccine clinics after learning that we would be unexpectedly receiving approximately 800 doses of Moderna vaccine that would need to be used by 5:30 a.m. Friday. As has been the case time and again, individuals and teams rose to the occasion, despite the late hour, to vaccinate over 800 people. Waking up to this news, it is so inspiring to see the tireless commitment of UW Medicine staff and volunteers who came to our vaccination sites late into the night to help out. Thank you, as always, for everything you are doing to serve our community, each other and to move us a few steps closer to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

UW Medicine is committed to getting COVID-19 vaccines to our eligible employees and patients in accordance with guidance from the Washington State Department of Health. However, like other health systems locally and nationally, we are also facing challenges from limited and unpredictable vaccine supplies. Due to the current shortage, UW Medicine has had to pause scheduling of new first-dose appointments for employees and patients. While we are disappointed with this current status, our goal continues to be to provide the vaccine to all eligible community members as soon as possible.

Although scheduling of new first-dose appointments is paused at this time, first-dose appointments that have already been scheduled will currently be kept as we monitor the vaccine supply week by week. Your second-dose appointment will also take place as planned. Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to acquire the necessary supply to serve everyone in an equitable way.

In the midst of our focus on vaccinating the community, you may also be seeing more news about coronavirus variants. It can be confusing to understand how many variants are out there and what that means for us. Several variants exist globally, with the three emerging from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil being the most prominent. The good news is that research suggests current vaccines should still protect against these variants. All the other protective measures we’re already taking — masking, physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings — are effective in preventing further spread as well. If we stay the course, we can continue to slow transmission of COVID-19 and additional variant strains.

UW Medicine will keep our employees and patients updated on the vaccination process as we learn more. For more information on the DOH vaccination plans, visit I also encourage you to see the Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines for Employees to find up-to-date, detailed information on everything vaccine-related, from distribution and logistics, to allergic reactions, safety and more.

Your continued patience and support as we navigate this unexpected development with supply is greatly appreciated.

Today’s update also includes:

  • Local/National/Global Epidemiology
  • Vaccination Summary
  • Staff Daily Attestation — New Policy and Process

UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary

COVID-19 Positive Inpatient Counts for January 29, 2021

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 76,345 total cases and 1,249 deaths as of Friday, Jan. 29. The number of new positive tests is currently at 229/14 days/100,000 people. The effective reproductive (Re) number was estimated to be 0.5 (estimate range: 0.2 – 0.7).

Washington: The Department of Health reports 293,978 cases and 4,243 deaths as of Thursday, Jan. 28. Of the 4,495,463 people who have been tested, 6.5% have been positive.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 158,598 new cases, 25,615,268 total COVID-19 cases and 431,619 deaths on Friday, Jan. 29.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 101,053,721 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,182,867 deaths as of Friday, Jan. 29.

UW Medicine Vaccination Summary as of Jan. 28

*Total Doses Given: 56,998. Site numbers represent doses administered, not the number of people who have been vaccinated and work at each site.

Staff Daily Attestation — New Policy and Process

UW Medicine is introducing a new electronic tool to help streamline the health self-attestation process for faculty, staff, students and trainees. This new tool will minimize the number of systems currently in use to record, report and track COVID-19 symptoms in our workforce. The tool also will allow us to have one source of information to make updating content easier while also increasing compliance across our system.

Today we are doing a soft roll out of an electronic self-attestation system that will allow faculty, staff, students and trainees an opportunity to get familiar with the new tools before this daily electronic attestation process becomes mandatory Wednesday, Feb. 3.

In order to meet the needs of all employees, we are offering several ways to access the self-attestation survey.

What you should know:

  • Attestations should be completed prior to every onsite shift.
  • Signage with QRs codes to the self-attestation survey will be placed at entry points and throughout workspaces to allow staff to self-attest using their smart phones.
  • On Monday, Feb. 1, an icon with a link to the self-attestation survey will appear on all UW Medicine desktops (see image here for reference).

  • Translated versions of the survey are in development and will be deployed in the coming weeks.
  • If you have questions about when and where you should attest, please review the policy.
  • Leadership at all UW Medicine entities will distribute more details about the self-attestation rollout on Monday, Feb. 1, including information about how managers will monitor compliance.

I want to thank the many departments and services that created their own COVID-19 symptom tracking tools over the past several months in order to ensure the health and safety of our workforce, and I look forward to us collectively moving to this new tool going forward.

I am currently attending on the infectious disease consult service at Harborview, which is giving me a chance to visit all the clinical units here and, even better, to see many of my colleagues across the spectrum of healthcare. It has been wonderful to see how we have adapted our workflows to continue to provide the same incredible care that we have always delivered at UW Medicine. I see and feel the same energy as always. I continue to be amazed and proud of the work our colleagues and community are doing every day to address new developments with COVID-19, keeping the safety and health of our patients always top of mind. Getting the vaccine to our community safely, equitably, and as soon as possible, remains a priority. Again, we will get through this together.


John Lynch, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control
Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center
Division of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, UW School of Medicine