Appointments for pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 for children 5 to 11 years old are now available on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The vaccine for this age group — which is one-third the dosage required for older children and adults — has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and doses are now available locally, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.
She said she hopes the CDC’s advisory board recommending the vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds in a unanimous 14-0 vote will help put those on the fence about vaccinating their children at ease about the safety of the vaccine.
“The risk of COVID-19 in this age group is higher than any possible potential risks from the vaccine,” Berry said.
During the trials, unwanted effects from the vaccine — such as fever, chills and fatigue — were also less common in this age group than in older children and adults, Berry said.
The most common side effect is a sore arm for the younger group, Berry said.
Berry recommends parents and guardians get their children vaccinated. She suggested that those with questions and concerns about the vaccine talk with their primary care providers.
“We need to get our kids vaccinated,” Berry said in a press release. “We are seeing an incredible strain on our schools to help keep students, staff and their families safe during this global pandemic.
“Vaccinating your child brings everyone another step closer to getting back to normal,” she said.
Mass vaccination clinics for this age group are being finalized in Clallam County.
Olympic Medical Center is accepting appointments made by residents seeking to have their children vaccinated. Appointments can be made by calling 360-565-0999.
Jefferson County Public Health and the county Department of Emergency Management have two mass vaccination clinics planned for the new age group for county residents.
The two Pfizer clinics, set from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, are only for residents 5 to 11 years old.
The Nov. 13 clinic will be at Blue Heron Middle School, 3939 San Juan Ave. in Port Townsend. It was full with a wait list started as of Thursday. Parents/guardians can sign up on the wait list at prepmod.doh.wa.gov//appointment/en/reg/2512296074.
The Nov. 20 clinic will be at Chimacum High School, 91 West Valley Road. Parents/guardians can get appointments at prepmod.doh.wa.gov//appointment/en/reg/2269590821.
Those unable to access appointment registration online can call Emergency Management at 360-344-9791 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The state’s vaccination locator, at vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov, lists pharmacies that offer the pediatric doses.
Berry and her teams are also working to have doses distributed on the West End and to the various tribes on the Peninsula.
Children should receive a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least 21 days after their first dose.
Parents/guardians will need to attend the vaccinations for the younger age group, Berry said.
Due to the limited number of doses initially available, parents who are unable to get an appointment in the next week or two should be patient; appointments should open up more in two to three weeks, Berry said.
Meanwhile, a new death caused by COVID-19 was confirmed in Clallam County on Thursday, raising the total number of deaths confirmed in the county to 65 and to 82 for the entire North Olympic Peninsula since the pandemic began.
The newest death was a man in his 40s who was unvaccinated and didn’t have an underlying condition, Berry said.
Jefferson County held with no new deaths reported Thursday. The county has confirmed 17 deaths since the pandemic began.
Clallam County added 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, raising its total to 4,978 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.
Jefferson County added six new cases Thursday, raising its total to 1,180 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.
Clallam County recorded a rate of 303 cases per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday, according to public health data.
Jefferson County’s rate decreased slightly to 250.78 cases per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 27. Before that, the case rate was 253.92 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 20, according to public health data.
According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 80.8 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 77 percent fully vaccinated.
Of the entire population, 74.3 percent have begun vaccination and 70.9 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.
In Clallam County, 74.9 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 70.2 percent fully vaccinated.
Of the total population, 66.6 percent have begun vaccinations, with 62.4 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at email@example.com.