PORT TOWNSEND — Nearly 200 children received their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, Department of Emergency Management director Willie Bence reported in his Monday briefing to the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners.
To reach the clinic, families drove through a kind of gauntlet.
While two local residents, Steve Moffat and Sam Force, yelled encouragement — “You’re heroes!” — beside the entrance to Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend, a line of eight protesters stood close by.
Along San Juan Avenue, occupying the Jefferson Transit bus stop strip, they held up signs with messages such as “Bad shot” with a skull and crossbones, “Stop” and “NOPE.” One man carried a large, white fabricated needle that appeared to be more than 6 feet tall, with a “Danger Poison” sign attached.
“Covid vaccines kill and injure more than they save” read another sign.
“We unfortunately have seen the return of intense misinformation, particularly with the pediatric vaccine,” Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, said during her Monday briefing to the commissioners.
The Pfizer vaccine, authorized for children age 5 and older by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is safe and effective, Berry said. It not only prevents severe disease, she said, but it also protects kids from the persistent effects of what is known as long COVID.
Many adults and children are suffering from long-term ill health after contracting the virus, Berry said. In kids, neurological disorders are appearing, with some children suffering from persistent learning difficulties.
All school-age children in the United States are eligible for vaccination against COVID, Berry said. She added the reasons are similar to those of immunizing children against polio.
“The best way to protect your children when they’re going to school is to get them vaccinated as soon as possible,” Berry said.
On Saturday, 192 youngsters received the vaccine at the children’s clinic.
Another clinic is set for this Saturday at Chimacum High School, 91 West Valley Road, Chimacum. To make an appointment, go to co.jefferson.wa.us/1429/COVID-19 or phone the Department of Emergency Management at 360-344-9791.
For Clallam County, see clallam.net/Coronavirus under “vaccine information” or phone 360-417-2430.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladaily news.com.