Vaccine appointments available for youngest age group

Rise in cases attributed to graduation parties

Parents in Jefferson County will need to wait until July 1 to make appointments to get children younger than 5 vaccinated due to a delay in vaccine distribution.

The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer was placed on a short federal distribution delay, according to Dr. Allison Berry, the health officer for both Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“Unfortunately, we did not get our shipment of the vaccine last week as we anticipated,” Berry said. “We just got it today and will be ready to start getting kids under 5 vaccinated on July 1. There has been a slight delay, particularly with Pfizer and its rollout.”

Clallam County previously received its shipment; appointments can be made through primary care providers.

The age group, from six months to 5 years old, is the last group approved to be vaccinated against the virus, which has killed more than 1 million Americans, with more than 1,000 being children, making the virus the fifth largest cause of death in children in the country.

“The biggest benefit to getting your kids vaccinated is to prevent severe disease and death,” Berry said.

COVID-19 cases continue to soar across the county. However, unlike in other parts of the country, there are far fewer cases of severe disease.

Clallam County has reported a total of 13,764 cases since the pandemic began, up 371 cases from last week with a case rate of 707 per 100,000 population. There were three residents hospitalized Monday at Olympic Medical Center, one of whom was in intensive care.

Jefferson County has reported a total of 4,657 cases since the pandemic began, up 90 cases since last week with a case rate of 976 per 100,000 population. No Jefferson County residents were hospitalized Monday.

There were no new deaths reported in either county in the past week.

Case rates are a reflection of cases reported during a two-week period. They are computed using a formula based on 100,000 population even for counties that do not have 100,000 people living in them.

Berry attributed the rising case numbers to graduation festivities that mostly occurred indoors but noted that case rates will likely begin to trend down again.

“Much of this is still coming from graduation celebrations, but we will see case rates start to go down soon,” she said. “In the meantime, I encourage folks to wear high-quality masks when indoors there, especially as you travel.”

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached by email at [email protected]

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