Submitted by San Juan County.
An additional mRNA dose will help further protect children, ages 5-11 years, and slow disease spread across Washington and in San Juan County. Booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are now available for children in this age group. The Washington State Department of Health expanded booster dose eligibility to include every one five years and older, following guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
This expansion of booster eligibility comes as COVID-19 cases are continuing to steadily rise across the country, state, and within our own community. The myth that COVID-19 is always a mild disease in children needs to be dispelled. The updated booster dose recommendations are as follows:
• Children ages 5-11 years should receive a booster dose five months after completing their primary vaccine series of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
• Immunocompromised children should receive their booster dose at least three months after their primary series.
Some Other Considerations:
• If your child has not yet started their primary series, it is never too late! You may make an appointment for your child to get their first COVID-19 vaccine on our website here. For more information or to speak with one of our Public Health Nurses, please call our main line at 360-378-4474.
• COVID-19 primary and booster vaccine doses can be co-administered with other vaccines, such as other recommended childhood vaccines that may be overdue or that your child may need for school or childcare requirements. We offer free childhood vaccines to all children up to age 18. Please contact us to make an appointment or to get more information.
• The potential for serious side effects or reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine is far less than the risk of serious outcomes or death from COVID-19 disease. The benefits of vaccinating your child(ren) far outweigh any risks.
• Everyone 12 and older should receive a booster dose 5 months after completing their primary vaccine series of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
• Everyone 50 and older should receive a second booster dose four months after receiving their first booster dose.
• Individuals 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a second booster dose four months after receiving their first booster dose.
• Those 18 and older who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the J&J vaccine four months ago can receive a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
What can you do?
You may schedule your child to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by visiting our website here or by calling our main line at 360-378-4474. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask to speak with one of our knowledgeable Public Health Nurses.
Additional COVID-19 Information & Resources:
COVID-19 restrictions have largely been lifted. Given the current setting, where there are no broad community control measures in place to prevent spread it is up to each of us to manage our own risk and be thoughtful of those around us. The following are some ways to protect limit our personal risk and prevent community spread at the same time:
If you are sick, stay home and test yourself for COVID-19. You may use the following resources if you are symptomatic, test positive, or are a close contact of a positive individual:
• COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree
• What to Do If You Test Positive
Know Your Status! You can still order free COVID-19 test kits through the Washington State Department of Health at the Yes to Test website here. Currently, you may place an order for two test kits once a month (this is subject to change). You can also order free COVID-19 test kits through the Federal Government by visiting COVID.gov/tests – Free at-home COVID-19 tests.
Those who are high-risk or who are interacting closely with others who are high-risk, should continue to be thoughtful and work to minimize exposure. Minimizing exposure includes wearing masks, limiting gatherings, and testing prior to gatherings.
It is NEVER too late to vaccinate. COVID-19 vaccines dramatically reduce the risk of hospitalization and death if infected. Booster shots significantly reduce risks even further. For information on COVID-19 vaccine appointments visit sjccovid.com or call our mainline.
Individuals that are high-risk and test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their medical home or Primary Care Provider (PCP) regarding treatment options. Preventive therapies are also available before you get infected.
Those who wish to keep up with case numbers may do so at the SJC COVID Data Dashboard. We will continue written updates as necessary to share critical information.