Fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine authorized for some

State and regional health departments are recommending a fourth dose of vaccine against COVID-19 for people with severely compromised immune systems.

The State Department of Health followed the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recommending a fourth dose of the vaccine to help those with weakened immune systems be less likely to catch the virus and if they do, to become severely ill.

“This is a specific subset of the population, who were immunocompromised enough to be eligible for a third dose back in the day before the rest of us got boosters. They were eligible for three doses of the vaccines as part of their original series, and many of those folks are just now reaching the point where they would be also eligible for a booster,” said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Berry said that about 8,600 people on the North Olympic Peninsula were vaccinated when the third dose was authorized for immunocompromised people and before it was authorized for the elderly.

“That is our best estimate of the population likely eligible for a fourth dose in the next month,” Berry said.

On Thursday, Clallam County reported an increase of 81 cases, bringing its total cases since the pandemic began to 9,828 with a case rate of 1,642 per 100,000 population. Jefferson County reported 34 more cases, bringing its total to 2,694. Its case rate will be updated today.

Fifteen Clallam County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19. Eleven are at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles with four in the intensive care unit (ICU) and four in ICUs out of the county. A total of 325 Clallam County residents have been hospitalized with COVID since the pandemic began; 95 deaths are attributed to the virus.

Four Jefferson County residents are hospitalized, one in ICU at Jefferson Healthcare hospital and one in an ICU outside the county. A total of 102 Jefferson County residents have been hospitalized since the pandemic began; 23 deaths have been reported as caused by the virus.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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