All Washington residents 12 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and the Spokane Transit Authority is making it easier to get to appointments.
Late on Wednesday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup approved the vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to include kids and teens ages 12 and older.
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for this age group, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for use in adults 18 and older.
State and local health officials are asking parents and guardians, who must give consent for minors to be vaccinated, to get their kids and teens vaccinated to help the state reach adequate vaccination levels. There are 378,000 12- to 15-year-olds in Washington state.
Some school districts may begin offering vaccines to students this week, including Spokane Public Schools.
For the next month, the Spokane Transit Authority is offering free door-to-door rides for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
Residents who live in the STA service area can get free transportation via paratransit vans to and from their vaccine appointments until June 12.
Each van will take up to three passengers, and everyone on board will be required to wear a mask.
To schedule a ride to your vaccine appointment with STA, call (509) 328-1552. Those utilizing the service can be accompanied by one companion, though it wasn’t immediately clear whether the extra guests would be counted toward the three-passenger limit.
Uber and Lyft are also offering free rides to vaccination appointments, and if transportation is a barrier, people with smartphones can use the app to get a ride to their vaccine appointments.
The Department of Health has a discount code available, and you can dial (833) VAX-HELP, then press # to get assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment or transportation to get there.
All three COVID-19 vaccines are available in Spokane County, and you can search for a specific vaccine brand and appointment by using the state’s vaccine locator tool.
Here’s a look at local numbers:The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 144 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths on Thursday.
There have been 627 deaths due to the virus in Spokane County residents.
There are 85 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Spokane .
The Panhandle Health District confirmed 27 new cases on Thursday and no additional deaths.
There are 21 Panhandle residents hospitalized.
Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.
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