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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Feb. 24, 2024

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What to know about the updated COVID booster shots for Washington kids

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Health officials say Washington families who were struggling to find pediatric COVID-19 booster shots now should be able to make appointments.

Washington State Department of Health officials last week said that families were having trouble finding pediatric vaccines because of production delays, but that parents and guardians now should be able to make appointments. Health care providers and pharmacies across the state have confirmed receiving updated doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine for kids, DOH said.

A handful of Seattle pharmacies confirmed this week supplies have been enough to meet demand.

New recommendations published this month from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest everyone 5 and older receive an updated dose of the vaccine to protect themselves from new variants of the virus.

With fall in full swing, experts are keeping an eye on EG.5, a variant that’s been circulating since this summer. While it’s not likely to lead to a surge on par with previous years, people are still susceptible because of the transmissibility of this strain.

Health officials suggest children 5 and older receive a booster — even if they have been vaccinated before — though there’s no recommended brand or manufacturer.

Children 6 months to 4 years old should receive the same vaccine type for each dose. They either need two doses of Moderna or three doses of the Pfizer vaccine if they haven’t been vaccinated before. For children in this age group who already have been vaccinated, one or two doses of either manufacturer is enough.

Kids 12 or older should get an additional dose if they’ve already been vaccinated, or two doses if they are getting a COVID vaccine for the first time. Vaccines lower the risk of getting infected and provide some protection to keep children from serious illness, hospitalization or death in the case of infection.

Immunocompromised children may need additional doses. More detailed guidelines are available at https://st.news/vaccineguidance

In Washington, vaccines are free for people 18 or younger. Many drugstores and clinics offer walk up services. To find and schedule a booster appointment visit st.news/vaccinelocator and use the filters to find pediatric appointments near you.

If you’re in King County this week, the Care-a-Van, a mobile health clinic run by the Department of Health that travels across the state, is offering free COVID vaccinations Friday in South Lake Union. On Saturday, the mobile clinic will be in White Center. For more information on the Care-a-van, visit st.news/care-a-van

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