Kelli Hawkins, SRHD | email@example.com | 509.324.1539, c 509.994.8968
Spokane, Wash. – The Washington State Governor’s Office announced that the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup reviewed the federal process and has recommended authorized emergency use of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19 to include use in children 6 months of age and older. Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) supports their recommendation and will begin offering the pediatric doses to providers through their vaccine depot as soon as vaccine shipments arrive and will offer it at routine back-to-school vaccination clinics, starting in August.
- For the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, the FDA amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 17 years of age. The vaccine had been authorized for use in adults 18 years of age and older.
- For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, the FDA amended the EUA to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 4 years of age. The vaccine had been authorized for use in individuals 5 years of age and older.
Dr. Francisco Velázquez, health officer for SRHD, said, “Many parents and caregivers have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children in order to protect them from severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death. Having the vaccine available will help ensure our children can maintain a high level of immunity so they can continue to safely participate in in-person learning, extracurricular activities, play dates, and sports. Doing so is critical to their mental and physical well-being.”
Velázquez encourages families to connect with their healthcare provider to learn more about the vaccines and to find out if their healthcare provider is offering the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group.
“Our children are at a lower risk of severe disease and hospitalization, but they are not immune from it,” Velázquez said. “We continue to see pediatric cases of COVID-19 in our hospitals, which increased with the Omicron wave. Data show that COVID-19 vaccines for ages 6 months and up are not only effective, but safe, and adverse side effects are rare.”
Velázquez explained as more of our population can be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the less we’ll see of virus transmission and hospitalizations, and the safer it is for all members of the community to return to public activities and the freedom to be around others.
It is prudent to reach out to your provider or pharmacy before visiting in person, as not all providers are offering the vaccine, and not all pharmacies will vaccinate patients under age 3. Vaccine shipments are expected to arrive from the Washington State Department of Health this week. The following providers have confirmed they will offer the Pfizer pediatric vaccines in some of their locations:
- Providence clinics
- Consistent Care (will also offer Moderna; will see non-established patients)
- CHAS Health
- Mt. Spokane Pediatrics (will see non-established patients)
- MultiCare Kaiser Permanente
The SRHD website provides a map of those providers who offer the pediatric vaccines, and it will soon differentiate those that provide the vaccine for younger children.
“The vaccines continue to be effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, including against the Delta and Omicron variants. We continue to see highly effective protection against hospitalizations and severe outcomes for people who are fully vaccinated,” said Velázquez.
Those who are eligible for the initial vaccine series or a booster are encouraged to use DOH’s VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov website or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press # to be directed to vaccine providers in Spokane County. Language assistance is available.
Health care providers are asked to enroll in vaccine administration by completing the COVID-19 Provider Inquiry Form on the DOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment webpage (under COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment).