People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious COVID-19 disease are eligible to get a booster, even if they don’t fall into any high-risk category. The Washington Dept. of Health (DOH) included this announcement in their virtual press conference on Oct. 27.
National vaccine regulators approved booster doses of vaccine for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines Oct. 20, but the recommendations differ depending on which vaccine a person originally took. Earlier this year, the Pfizer boosters were approved for people at high risk — from their age or occupation or an underlying medical condition. Regulators also approved only people at high risk, in the same categories, for Moderna boosters.
Washington State is just a hair’s breadth away from reaching its goal of a 70% vaccination rate among people aged 16 and older, but Gov. Jay Inslee said in an afternoon press conference on June 9 that the state would essentially fully reopen on June 30, regardless of whether the state reaches its vaccination rate goal by that date.
Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has publicly stated that anyone who is vaccinated against the novel coronavirus can resume all activities — such as going to the grocery store and gathering with friends — mask-free, the Washington State Department of Health is still urging caution.
In a May 19 press briefing, Department of Health (DOH) officials said that it is important to continue to exercise caution and care. The state’s transmission and disease levels are still not where they need to be, though more than half the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We are seeing with complete data and even the projection moving forward is that we believe that we are seeing that flattening and that decline,” DOH Health Sec. Dr. Umai Shah said of the state’s disease and transmission levels. “That does not mean that every place is having the same kind of decline.”
There was nothing but good news at the Public Health – Seattle & King County COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, May 12.
Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin announced in the press conference that the data suggests that not only has the County started to “turn the corner” on its most recent surge of COVID-19 cases, but that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has officially approved the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to young people aged 12-15.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that the State would open eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all people over the age of 16 on April 15, a move that will allow another million Washingtonians to make appointments for the shot two weeks ahead of the standard set by the Biden administration.
There will not be enough supply to meet pent up demand from younger adults to get their vaccines immediately when eligibility opens in mid-April, cautioned Dr. Umair Shah, the secretary of the Washington State Department of Health. However, the federal government has increased the number of weekly vaccines delivered to the state and is likely to be able to further expand supply in May.
“While we are pleased and excited that we can open to everyone above the age of 16 on April 15, we also recognize that we have vaccine supply that continues to be a challenge for all of us,” Shah said. “That supply is something we’re continuing working with the federal administration on and the governor has done a lot from his seat to get more vaccine into the state of Washington.”
There is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but Washingtonians should not get complacent, public health officials emphasized in an online press conference on Thursday, March 25.
The State has so far administered 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and fewer than 4,000 doses have gone to waste, officials said. The State confirmed yesterday to the Seattle Times that people ages 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine by the May 1 deadline set by the Biden administration.
In an online press briefing on Thursday, March 18, Gov. Jay Inslee announced vaccine eligibility for roughly 2 million more Washingtonians through the next two tiers of eligibility, debuted a new vaccine locator tool for obtaining appointments, and outlined more flexible guidelines on visitations for residents and visitors to long-term care facilities who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition to opening new vaccine eligibility, Inslee also announced that he is extending the State’s eviction moratorium through June 30 and extending the utility shutoff moratorium through July 31. This follows an announcement on Monday by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan extending the City’s eviction moratorium through June 30.
A new public service announcement promoting Washington Exposure Notifications (WA Notify) features campy content from queer and BIPOC performers, providing some much-needed levity as the pandemic drags on. With a cast of Seattle’s notable dancers, entertainers, and drag performers, new promotional videos shed light on how WA Notify helps prevent COVID-19 transmission, along with a catchy song-and-dance about how to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and keep your COVID pod “Tight, tight, tight, t-tight!”
Washington State has avoided a post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID-19 cases, but the state — particularly its hospital system — isn’t in the clear yet.
In a press conference on Dec. 16, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy shared graphs from the DOH’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard that show case counts and hospitalizations, including ICU bed occupancy, are levelling off. The Emerald has shared these graphs below. But the trends aren’t yet level, and the state must go beyond just flattening the curve, DOH Health Sec. Dr. John Wiesman said.