OLYMPIA – Recognized as a national leader and model during the national vaccine rollout, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Vaccine Action Command and Coordination System (VACCS) Center released a report highlighting milestones achieved during the last several months of the pandemic.
VACCS was formed in late January 2021 by Gov. Jay Inslee, with the goal of leveraging the talent and resources of the private sector in support of the state’s vaccine distribution effort. Over time, the Center was supported by more than 50 partners from across Washington, including leading companies, small and medium businesses, unions, business associations, non-profits, foundations, community groups, non-governmental partners, and volunteer groups. Participants included Challenge Seattle, the leaders of Costco, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks.
The goal was simple: achieve the goal of administering 45,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day, and do so quickly, efficiently, and equitably. This goal was reached, then exceeded by late February 2021, once vaccine supply to the state increased.
These partnerships helped drive the statewide success around vaccines and created solutions that addressed the needs and challenges in the Washington vaccine ecosystem. The success couldn’t have been achieved by either the public or private sector working alone. “It was our concerted efforts to save the lives of our fellow Washingtonians that motivated everyone working together—a true partnership across all sectors,” said Dan Laster, VACCS Director at DOH.
“Washington once again showed leadership through partnership, innovation, and a relentless focus on data-driven results to collectively do our best to save lives. Microsoft was proud to partner with the Governor, DOH and the VACCS Center, private sector leaders and our tech partners to bring our technology expertise and resources to the table to ensure timely and patient friendly vaccine delivery in our state,” said Brad Smith, President, Microsoft.
“The VACCS Center was just one part of Washington state’s incredible effort to vaccinate as many people as possible,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “The work continues, but the overall results of the vaccine efforts reflect the tireless work and sacrifices of frontline health workers, public health workers, and hundreds of thousands of people mobilized across multiple sectors working for the greater good to save lives. Our message is now, as ever: get vaccinated, protect yourself, and protect your community.”
The people of Washington have benefitted from the positive impact VACCS has made to help vaccinate so many people across the state. New offices established within DOH will continue working with partners throughout the pandemic and plan on folding the existing work of the Center into daily work across multiple teams within the agency. DOH’s newly developed Office of Strategic Partnerships and Office of Innovation both will carry over the work from VACCS with the hope of synergizing future public-private partnerships to help improve the health of Washingtonians across the state. Based on the success of VACCS, the new offices will explore innovative ways to tackle other public health challenges beyond COVID affecting many communities.
Learn more about VACCS and public-private partnerships with DOH here.