SEATTLE — Since the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 earlier this month, more than 60,000 children across Washington state have received their first dose as of Nov. 15.
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) gave the update during a briefing Wednesday morning.
Acting Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts said the state ordered about 500,000 doses of the pediatric vaccine to date. That’s more than double the initial order of about 230,000 doses.
“There couldn’t be a better time to get your child vaccinated. If they get their first dose this week, they’ll be fully vaccinated before the new year,” Roberts said.
Preliminary data showed that demand for the pediatric vaccine was similar to that of the adult vaccine. For example, Roberts said areas like the Puget Sound region saw a demand of about 12%, while areas in the central part of the state are at around 2%.
Additionally, more than 820,000 additional COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered throughout Washington, as of Nov. 13. This includes booster doses and third doses for those who have medical conditions that increase their risk for COVID-19 infection.
In total, more than 10 million doses have been administered in the state.
Overall, the DOH said the COVID-19 trends throughout the state are positive, with cases continuing to decrease along with hospitalizations and deaths.
Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah echoed his “cautiously optimistic” message Wednesday, adding that the state is at a pivotal moment as the pandemic outlook continues to improve but the holidays and winter months still lie ahead.
“This is a really important time for all of us. We know the holidays are right around the corner. We’ve seen decreases in our state when it comes to hospitalizations,” Shah said.
New Chief Science Officer Dr. Tao Kwan-Gett said respiratory illnesses are on the rise compared to last year when universal masking was still in place and more Washingtonians were kept at home, including young children.
“My partners and I are seeing more respiratory viral infections in children this fall than last fall,” he said.
DOH officials continued to urge Washingtonians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as the flu.
Kwan-Gett urged parents to also get their children in for regular check-ups and other vaccinations for viruses like the measles and meningitis. These vaccination numbers have waned since the start of the pandemic, he said.
As of Nov. 15, 80% of the state’s population 12 years and older has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the DOH’s data.