Thousands of children in Washington are getting a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine – Community News
Covid-19

Thousands of children in Washington are getting a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use earlier this month.

SEATTLE — Since the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 earlier this month, more than 60,000 children in Washington state have received their first dose on Nov. 15.

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) gave the update during a briefing Wednesday morning.

Acting Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts said the state has ordered about 500,000 doses of the pediatric vaccine so far. That’s more than double the initial order of approximately 230,000 doses.

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“There couldn’t be a better time to get your child vaccinated. If they get their first dose this week, they’ll be fully vaccinated for the new year,” Roberts said.

Preliminary data showed that the demand for the pediatric vaccine was comparable to that of the adult vaccine. For example, Roberts said areas like the Puget Sound region saw demand of about 12%, while areas in the central part of the state are around 2%.

In addition, as of Nov. 13, more than 820,000 additional COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered throughout Washington. This includes booster doses and third doses for those with medical conditions that increase their risk of COVID-19 infection.

In total, more than 10 million doses have been administered in the state.

Overall, the DOH said COVID-19 trends across the state are positive, with cases continuing to decline along with hospitalizations and deaths.

Minister of Health Dr. Umair Shah reiterated his “cautiously optimistic” message on Wednesday, adding that the state is at a pivotal moment as the pandemic outlook continues to improve but the holiday and winter months are still ahead.

“This is a very important time for all of us. We know the holidays are just around the corner. We have seen a drop in hospital admissions in our state,” Shah said.

The new Chief Science Officer Dr. Tao Kwan-Gett said respiratory disease is on the rise compared to last year, when universal masks were still in place and more Washingtonians were kept at home, including young children.

“My partners and I are seeing more viral respiratory infections in children this fall than last fall,” he said.

DOH officials continued to urge Washingtonians to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu.

Kwan-Gett urged parents to also get their children checked regularly and other vaccinations against viruses such as the measles and meningitis. These vaccination rates have declined since the start of the pandemic, he said.

As of Nov. 15, 80% of the state’s population ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the DOH.