Kids 5 to 11 can now get the COVID vaccine at multiple locations in Okanogan County, following last week’s emergency-use authorization for a lower-dose Pfizer vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended the vaccine.
The vaccine for kids is given in two doses, three weeks apart.
The FDA had already given full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for everyone 16 and older.
Clinical trials for the vaccine involving 3,100 children found the vaccine was 91% effective in preventing COVID in children 5 to 11, according to the state Department of Health (DOH). Their immune response was comparable to that of individuals ages 16 through 25, and no serious side-effects were reported.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for children from 5 to 17. The Pfizer vaccine has full FDA approval for those 16 and older. The two-dose Moderna vaccine and one-dose J&J vaccine are both available for adults 18 and over through an emergency-use authorization.
Booster shots of all three vaccines are available for people who received their first full doses at least six months ago, including those 65 and older, those who live or work in high-risk settings, and those with underlying conditions.
Some Family Health Centers (FHC) clinics in the county have already received their pediatric doses and will give them at individual appointments and at community events, FHC Chief Health Officer James Wallace said.
“There is a huge demand and we’re receiving calls across the county, and are happy to see the interest,” he said.
COVID cases dropping, Delta surge continues
Although COVID cases are decreasing in Okanogan County, the county is still in the middle of the Delta surge, Wallace told the county Board of Health on Tuesday (Nov. 9). Wallace is also the county’s health officer.
New daily infections are about half of what they were in September, but the county is currently recording about 45 COVID cases per day, compared to 26 cases over 14 days in June, Wallace told the board.
Hospitalizations have been dropping, but Central Washington Hospital is still near capacity. Patients are still often transferred to distant hospitals for treatment for various conditions.
Okanogan County recorded 118 new COVID infections for the week ending Nov. 7, the lowest number of cases since the Delta surge started at the end of August. There were three cases in Twisp, two in Winthrop, and three in Carlton.
Last week, Okanogan County Public Health reported three more deaths from COVID, two females and one male, all in their 60s. Public Health reports deaths attributed to COVID-19 only after they have been verified by death certificate, testing and other case information.
The two-week incidence rate per 100,000 population was 652 for the total county population. For the unvaccinated population, it was 1,294, and for the vaccinated population, it was 134. The percentage of the population who are now fully vaccinated increased only slightly in the past week, from 55.3% to 55.5%.
COVID vaccines for kids and adults
Friday (Nov. 12), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Agriplex, Okanogan County Fairgrounds. For kids 5 to 11, teens and adults, first doses and boosters. Registration recommended but not required.
Saturday Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to noon: Liberty Bell High School gym. Kids 5 to 11 only. Registration required. Maximum 150 kids. A local pediatrician will be on site to answer questions.
For more information, vaccine dates and times, and to register: okanogancountycovid19.org/covid-19-vaccine