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Washington State’s Top Public Health Doctor Kathy Lofy Sees “A Path Back to Normalcy Now”

As Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Washington state and providers ready for administering the first doses as part of the state’s distribution plan, Washington State Health Officer and Chief Science Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy takes a moment to speak with Washington Health Alliance Executive Director Nancy Giunto.

Dr. Lofy says the state will receive about 220,000 Pfizer vaccines and if the Moderna vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the total number of vaccine doses will increase to about 400,000. While that is good news, she says it still falls short of the number needed to vaccinate all 7.5 million Washingtonians. In the meantime, Dr. Lofy recommends that we continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, limiting social interactions, and working from home as much as possible to try to contain the spread. The conversation with the Alliance’s Nancy Giunto includes:

  • the latest information on COVID illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths;
  • the practicalities involved with storing the Pfizer vaccine at negative 80°;
  • which groups will receive the vaccine during Phase 1A distribution;
  • the mechanisms for notifying people when it’s their time to receive the vaccine;
  • how the vaccine is being paid for;
  • the challenge of double vaccine doses; and
  • the role of equity in the development of the state’s distribution plan.

Dr. Lofy, who is leaving her position with the state next week, recognized the sacrifices made by Washingtonians over the past year and says she is optimistic. “We are at the beginning of the end. It’s going to take a long time to get to the end, but I can definitely see a light at the end of the tunnel and I can see a path back to normalcy now.”

See the complete interview here.

Published: December 15, 2020

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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