Parents ‘can breathe sigh of relief’ as vaccine rollout for children begins in Washington

Nov 3, 2021, 12:06 PM | Updated: 12:32 pm
Vaccine children...
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Children between the ages of 5 and 11 in Washington state could start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine within the next few weeks, following its approval by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

COVID vaccine for children avoids ‘devastating’ illness, says Mercer Island MD

That came after Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine cleared two final hurdles at the federal level Tuesday, having now received approval from advisers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“Parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their younger kids can now be vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19 virus,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a news release. “This gets us a step closer to having the entire population of Washington eligible for the vaccine. And a step closer to finding our way out of this pandemic.”

With final approvals out of the way, rolling the vaccine out to children will still likely be a gradual process. Seattle-King County Public Health noted Wednesday that its distribution sites “do not yet have appointments available for this age group,” and that shipments from the CDC may not arrive for some providers until next week.

That said, Harborview Medical Center reportedly received 5,700 doses for children Tuesday. Parents can call 844-520-8700 to get their children on the waiting list. Once a child’s turn comes up, UW Medicine will reach out to set up an appointment time.

Virologist: ‘Time interval’ between doses will be important in vaccinations for kids

Moving forward, UW Medicine plans to offer the vaccine to children in the 5-11 age group at all of its hospitals and neighborhood clinics once more doses are available.

City of Seattle clinics at Amazon downtown and in West Seattle will also begin administering doses to children starting this weekend by appointment only at this link.

“With nearly 183,000 five to eleven year olds in King County now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, doses at City of Seattle vaccination sites will be extremely limited for the next two weeks,” Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said.

Local health officials have stressed the relative safety of the vaccine for children, particularly when weighed against the negative effects of COVID-19.

“We’re still learning about the impact of long COVID on children, and we know children can spread COVID-19 to others, including adults who may be vulnerable to severe outcomes,” King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said. “For these reasons, along with the strong safety record of the vaccine in older children and adults, we look forward to ensuring access to the pediatric vaccine as soon as possible.”

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Parents ‘can breathe sigh of relief’ as vaccine rollout for children begins in Washington