The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has officially expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 years of age and older.
Individuals 12 years of age and older can access the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at vaccine provider locations across Washington State.
On Monday, May 10, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) amendment to expand the Pfizer vaccine to people 12 years and older. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup then voted on Wednesday, May 12 to recommend the vaccine for immediate use.
In March, Pfizer announced findings from its vaccine trial which found the vaccine to be safe and 100% effective for children as young as 12 years old. The company reported the vaccine produced an antibody response in children that exceeded those in earlier trials of older teens and young adults. Pfizer is currently evaluating the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in three other age groups: children aged 5 to 11 years, 2 to 5 years, and 6 months to 2 years.
“This is an extremely exciting development in the vaccine roll-out process,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “We know many parents are eager to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, and now, that moment has come. Our families deserve some peace of mind when it comes to their children’s’ safety, and we believe that this vaccine will allow for that. With summer just around the corner, there is no better time than now to drop by our clinic or schedule an appointment!”
Kids, just like adults, can be infected with the virus, get sick, and spread the virus to others. Recently, Washington has also seen an increase in cases among younger populations, partially because they have not be eligible for the vaccine until now.
Families should know that mild vaccine side effects are to be expected in children, similar to what is expected in adults. These side effects may include sore arm, fatigue, or headache. We encourage parents and guardians to reach out to their child’s health care provider with any questions or concerns, and to determine the best option for vaccination the child.
Parents and guardians should also know that dependent minors (12-17) will need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine. Consent can be provided either in-person or by phone at the time of the appointment.
Getting vaccinated is now easier than ever! The Skagit County Fairgrounds Vaccine Pfizer Clinic is offering drive-through services to all people 12 years of age and older, with drop-in and appointment options available Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am-4pm, and a drop-in clinic every Thursday from 1-7pm.
For information or to schedule an appointment, go to www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccineor call (360) 416-1500. You can also visit https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov to find other providers of Pfizer vaccine in the community.