Tag Archives: Washington State Department of Health

Boosters Open Up for Wider Group, Vaccine Likely for Children 5–11

by Sally James


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.

With the J&J vaccine, health officials urge all people, even those younger and with no extra risks, to come in and get a booster vaccine dose two months after their original shot of J&J. The reason for allowing boosters sooner for everyone with J&J is that a single shot seems to be less effective at protecting people than the other two-shot vaccines. The DOH estimates about 393,000 people in Washington state had a J&J vaccine.

Continue reading Boosters Open Up for Wider Group, Vaccine Likely for Children 5–11

Hospitals Still Straining Amid COVID-19 Pandemic 

by Sally James 


Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Director Umair Shah told reporters on Wednesday, Sept. 29, that hospitalizations from COVID-19 have continued to level off, but he warned that the public should not breathe a sigh of relief just yet.

“The numbers remain high. Too high,” Shah said during a virtual press conference. He compared the full hospitals and tired hospital staff members to a rubber band that is doomed to fail at some point if stretched for too long.

Continue reading Hospitals Still Straining Amid COVID-19 Pandemic 

Latinos Face Risks Because of Lag in Vaccination Against COVID-19

by Sally James


Latino communities remain at higher risk of COVID-19 infection because of lagging vaccination rates, according to a new policy brief released by the University of Washington’s Latino Center for Health (LCH). The new numbers show that only 35% of Latinos are fully vaccinated in the state, with 6% partially vaccinated. 

“With the growing threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant in our region, it is imperative that we vaccinate as many Latinos as possible before the fall when schools reopen and cooler temperatures will drive infection rates higher,” said physician Leo Morales, the co-director of LCH and author of the policy brief, in a press release. Another brief LCH released a few months ago suggests that a lack of access to the vaccine as well as vaccine hesitancy are some of the biggest factors affecting Latino communities. Although a majority of those surveyed had positive views on the vaccine, many expressed concerns around side effects and safety, cost, and effectiveness.

Continue reading Latinos Face Risks Because of Lag in Vaccination Against COVID-19

Preparing for Wildfire Smoke in South Seattle This Summer

by Andrew Engelson


After a record heat wave earlier this summer, Seattle is bracing for a West Coast wildfire season that’s now well underway. More than 300 fires are burning in British Columbia, a 150,000-acre forest fire is raging in south-central Oregon, and new fires are sparking in California and Idaho. In response to drought conditions, Gov. Jay Inslee last week declared a state of emergency and issued a statewide ban on most outdoor burning. 

With memories of last year’s intensely smoky skies still fresh, residents of South Seattle are preparing for what could be another hazy — and hazardous — summer.

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State Inches Away From Vaccination Rate Goal, P.1 Gains Traction

by Carolyn Bick


Though Washington State appears to be on track to eventually meet its goal of a 70% vaccination rate among people aged 16 and older, it does not appear that it will meet this goal before the planned state reopening date of June 30. The state is also experiencing an increase in the P.1 virus variant, rather than the recently identified Delta variant about which many other states are expressing concern.

As of this writing, the state sits at an exactly 68% vaccination rate among people aged 16 and older, State Department of Health (DOH) Sec. of Health Dr. Umair Shah said in a June 23 briefing. On June 9, the rate was 66.4%, so the state’s current rate represents just a 1.6% increase in vaccinations among people ages 16 and up. 

Continue reading State Inches Away From Vaccination Rate Goal, P.1 Gains Traction

With Vaccination Rate Rising, State Prepares to Reopen No Later Than June 30

by Carolyn Bick


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. 

Continue reading With Vaccination Rate Rising, State Prepares to Reopen No Later Than June 30

WA DOH Host Panel Focuses on Misinformation with COVID-19 Vaccines

by Chamidae Ford


On Wednesday, June 9, the Washington State Department of Health will be hosting a virtual panel. “Stopping Misinformation that Hurts the Black Community” will focus on preventing the spread of misinformation and providing factual statistics and resources about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Miriam McBride, the CEO of Truth Movement Innertainment, will be moderating the panel. The event will feature Chris Davis and Michealea Lemons, prevention and health coordinators at PCAF, and Korey Strozier, school board director (position 3) with Tacoma Public Schools, as a panelist. 

Continue reading WA DOH Host Panel Focuses on Misinformation with COVID-19 Vaccines

DOH Launches Mobile Vaccine Outreach Program as State Approaches Vaccination Goals

by Luke Schaefer


Thursday, June 4, marks 500 days since statewide efforts to curb the COVID-19 epidemic began. As of today, Washington has surpassed 7 million vaccine doses with more than 62% of Washingtonians ages 16 and over — or around 3.8 million people — receiving at least one dose.

In a press briefing Tuesday morning, Washington Department of Health (DOH) Secretary of Health Umair Shah expressed that high vaccination rates may lead to the elimination of capacity constraints on Washington businesses even before the state’s proposed date of June 30. This is entirely possible, provided that vaccination rates reach the 70% target in that time.

While it appears the finish line may be within view, Shah noted that a shift from increasing the supply of vaccines to maintaining demand for them is vital if the State hopes to reach their goal in time.

Continue reading DOH Launches Mobile Vaccine Outreach Program as State Approaches Vaccination Goals

NEWS GLEAMS: Vaccine Webinar, SE Seattle Schools’ Move-a-Thon, Metro’s Trailhead Direct

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle! 


COVID-19 vaccine vial at a Seattle pop-up vaccination clinic. Photo by Alex Garland.
COVID-19 vaccine vial at a Seattle pop-up vaccination clinic. Photo by Alex Garland.

COVID-19 Webinar & Testing Locations

Six Months After the COVID Vaccine Webinar, May 27 With full reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic just weeks away, a group of experts will discuss the State’s next steps and how Washington state can return to a medical world better and more equitable than the old normal. 

From the event sponsor: “On May 27 from 5 to 6 p.m., Washington medical experts will convene for a free webinar, Six Months with a COVID Vaccine: Where we started and what we know now. Hosted by the Washington State Department of Health, the event will feature a panel discussion with: 

  • Dr. Ben Danielson, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Dr. Gretchen LaSalle, American Academy of Family Physicians Vaccine Science Fellow
  • Dr. Larry Corey, Fred Hutch President and Director Emeritus

“The experts will share an update on state vaccination rates, their learnings from the last six months and their outlook for what WA residents can expect moving forward.
More information on the webinar can be found here. This event will offer live Spanish and ASL interpretation.”

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: Vaccine Webinar, SE Seattle Schools’ Move-a-Thon, Metro’s Trailhead Direct

PHSKC Issues Health Directive for Everyone to Keep Masks On in Indoor Spaces

by Carolyn Bick


Stating in no uncertain terms that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent masking recommendations are “uncoordinated and counterproductive,” Public Health — Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin announced in a May 20 press conference a new local health directive for all King County residents. The directive — which is effective immediately, regardless of vaccination status — asks that everyone continue to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, such as grocery stores.

Continue reading PHSKC Issues Health Directive for Everyone to Keep Masks On in Indoor Spaces