OLYMPIA, Washington (AP). More than 129,000 children aged 5 to 11 in Washington state received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine since eligibility expanded to include young children on November 3, health officials said Thursday.
“Although COVID-19 is often easier in children than in adults, children can still get severely ill and transmit the disease to family and friends, which is even more worrying when people gather on these holidays,” said Umayr A. Shah. M.D. MPH, Minister of Health. “As a father, knowing that our children are vaccinated helps me breathe a sigh of relief.”
Vaccinating children against COVID-19 can help reduce the risk of infection, reduce the likelihood of serious illness, and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death, health officials said.
While current overall vaccination rates are encouraging, child vaccination rates range from nearly 26% in Puget Sound to less than 8% in the South-Central and North-Central regions.
Since the start of the pandemic, 13 children and adolescents aged 18 and under in Washington have died from COVID-19, officials said.
Everyone 5 years of age and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.