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This week brought more hopeful signs that we continue to make progress against the pandemic. Most notable was federal authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. The expansion of eligibility to this group is an important next step in our vaccination effort and a key milestone for the full reopening of schools this fall. Thanks to our UW Medicine vaccine team, our vaccination sites are now accepting this younger population for appointments and walk-ins. On Thursday, the CDC released new guidance regarding activities for vaccinated people, and Governor Inslee announced an updated timeline to a full reopening of Washington state. These are going to be big changes for all of us — and they are coming fast.

While new COVID-19 cases are trending down in King County and more people are getting vaccinated every day, many communities in our region have been disproportionately affected and continue to experience substantial barriers to accessing the vaccine. New data from the Office of Healthcare Equity, for example, show Black and Hispanic populations underrepresented among the fully vaccinated in King County.

Today’s update includes:

  • King County Vaccine Equity Data
  • Local/National/Global Epidemiology
  • UW Medicine Vaccination Summary
  • Policy Updates

King County Vaccine Equity Data

King County Vaccine Equity Data

*Chart shows percentage of race/ethnicity group in King County population (left bar); percentage initiating vaccination (middle bar); and percentage fully vaccinated (right bar).

UW Medicine has made equity a priority in our vaccination campaigns. While more remains to be done, I am proud of the ways in which we are working to engage with vulnerable populations and under-resourced communities:

  • Mobile vaccine teams, staffed and operated by Harborview Medical Center, are reaching more people through mobile vans and pop-up vaccine clinics. The partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is greatly assisting this effort and enabling us to reach more of these communities, faster.
  • Our Strike Out COVID-19 campaign with the Seattle Mariners, also supported by the mobile vaccine teams at Harborview, is now in its third month and continuing to reach people in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • Our new vaccination site in Shoreline is a viable option for walk-ins and appointments in North King County, giving us a fifth vaccination site through which to care for the community.

UW Medicine COVID-19 Activity Summary

UWM Inpatient Census 5.14.21

Local/National/Global Epidemiology

King County: Public Health – Seattle & King County is reporting 101,881 total cases and 1,552 deaths as of Thursday, May 13. The number of new positive tests is currently at 233/14 days/100,000 people. The effective reproductive (Re) number was estimated to be 1.3 (estimate range: 1.1 – 1.6).

Washington: The Department of Health reports 419,382 confirmed cases and 5,626 deaths as of May 12. Of the 6,760,218 people who have been tested, 6.2% have been positive.

United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 34,934 new cases, 32,643,851 total COVID-19 cases and 580,837 deaths, as of May 13.

Global: The WHO COVID-19 Dashboard reports 160,813,869 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,339,002 deaths.

UW Medicine Vaccination Summary as of May 13

Vaccination Table 5.14.21

*Total Doses Given: 283,042. Site numbers represent total doses administered to employees, patients and community members. 

Policy Updates

A couple of reminders on recent policy updates:

  • Changes to our inpatient visitor restriction policy went into effect this week. Most patients are now allowed to have one visitor per day. Strict COVID-19 safety measures remain in place. For details, read the full policy.
  • We also implemented our new respirator policy this week. I covered the details in my message last week, but please remember it is now mandatory for our healthcare workers to wear a respirator when caring for both confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.

Given the availability of appointments and stable supply of vaccine, we are quickly reaching a point where everyone who wants the vaccine can get it — including youth in our community. I am so grateful and excited that my daughters, Aiden (age 14) and Logan (age 12), were able to be vaccinated on Thursday morning at the Harborview site alongside the children of many of our colleagues. That is incredible compared to where we were just a year ago and opens so many possibilities for the summer and coming school year.

I will be addressing the new CDC guidance for vaccinated people and the Governor’s press conference on masking next week. Please remember that we have made no changes to our masking policies for healthcare workers, patients or visitors. Remember to mask up and keep that eye protection in place!

Thank you, as always, for the collective effort in getting us to where we are today. The future will be brighter and closer to “normal” as we continue to control this disease.


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