Kids under 5 years old may soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and Washington is ready.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized the first shots for kids between the ages of 6 months and 4 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still must recommend how to use the vaccine, which could come as soon as this weekend. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which Washington is a part of, still must approve it before the state will begin supplying doses.
When the final approval happens, the Washington State Department of Health already will have doses ready to give to providers.
The department has received 151,600 doses for those under 5 from the federal government, said Emily Fredenberg, a department spokesperson.
Of those, 88,000 have been ordered by providers, and 63,600 still are available to be ordered. The department will receive another allocation from the federal government at the end of the month.
“Getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you,” Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said. “We applaud the patience of parents anxiously awaiting this authorization.”
Shah said in a statement he expects enough vaccines to meet initial demand and that supply will continue to increase in the coming days. The Department of Health reminded parents to remain patient as “overwhelming demand” could temporarily slow the vaccination process.
Health care providers may not have vaccine doses for those under 5 until June 21 or later, Fredenberg wrote in an email. Doses already ordered will begin arriving at providers’ offices on Monday and will continue throughout the next week.
To find a provider nearby, parents can visit the state’s vaccine locator at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov and sort through the list by age group.
In Spokane County, there were 880 new cases reported this week.
No new deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in the last week. The county’s total number of COVID-19 related deaths is 1,365.
Due to a backlog of data reported to the state by hospitals, the health district did not report any new hospitalizations this week but that is inaccurate, according to a district spokesperson.
Hospitals are seeing an increase in patient load across all levels of care, according to information from the Northwest Healthcare Response Network.
The Panhandle Health District reported 293 new cases in the last week. There are nine people hospitalized with the virus in the five-county district.
Three new deaths were reported in the past two weeks.
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