Jeremiah Mack, 9, gets his COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday afternoon at Shoreline Community College. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jeremiah Mack, 9, gets his COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday afternoon at Shoreline Community College. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Kids ages 5 to 11 now eligible for vaccine in Washington

The COVID-19 shot approval comes as Snohomish County continues to see cases rise, especially in kids.

EVERETT — Kid-sized COVID-19 vaccines have gotten the final OK in Washington.

For Snohomish County, the timing could be critical as case rates continue to rise, spurred by schoolchildren contracting the virus.

After receiving federal approval, the Western States Scientific Safety Advisory Group gave the final thumbs-up Wednesday morning.

“Parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their younger kids can now be vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19 virus,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.

The shots approved for children aged 5 to 11 are about one-third of the dose given to older kids and adults.

The Department of Health’s vaccine locator website has been updated with a “Pfizer-BioNTech Pediatric” option.

Supply will likely be limited at first, just like it was last year with the rollout of the first COVID-19 vaccines. This week, Snohomish County’s chief health officer Dr. Chris Spitters said parents should be patient as it will be “mathematically impossible” for all local kids to get their dose within the first week of distribution.

Parents should turn to pediatric clinics and pharmacies to get youngsters vaccinated. The state Department of Health said families may need to reach out to more than one provider to find an appointment.

Some schools are also looking to partner with providers for on-site clinics, although that might take longer. Everett, Marysville and Lake Stevens school districts all said they’re still working to organize those.

Providence’s Monroe and Mill Creek clinics will also be administering the shots.

In Snohomish County, kids won’t be able to get vaccinated at drive-thru clinics.

The setting isn’t “medically appropriate” for kids who are more likely to squirm and often require “more tender love and care,” Spitters said.

“There is a lot of chaos involved with younger kids, and if you have that going on in a string of drive-thrus, it’s really going to cause bottlenecks,” he said.

In a letter to governors, the Western States Scientific Safety Advisory Group noted the vaccine is more than 90% effective, and that reactions to the doses were mild in clinical trials and similar to those seen with other childhood vaccines.

The news means about 680,000 Washington kids can finally get protected against the virus after 20 months of living through a pandemic. The vaccines could help schools expend less energy on contact tracing and quarantine procedures, and more on education.

From Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, at least 189 COVID-19 outbreaks occured in Washington schools, according to the Department of Health. The majority of those were in grade schools.

Infections in school-aged kids contributed to an increase in Snohomish County’s COVID case rate for the second week in a row, officials reported Tuesday.

Laila Greaves, 5, gets a lollipop after her COVID-19 vaccination from Luke Lindgren (left) in the lap of her mother, Alieu Ann (right) Wednesday afternoon at Shoreline Community College. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Laila Greaves, 5, gets a lollipop after her COVID-19 vaccination from Luke Lindgren (left) in the lap of her mother, Alieu Ann (right) Wednesday afternoon at Shoreline Community College. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Ryan Bennett, a parent in the Mukilteo School District, said he already pre-registered his 5-year-old daughter to get the vaccine. She’s enrolled in an in-person pre-K and will be getting the shot next week at UW Medicine.

“We still have a 2-year-old that won’t be able to be vaccinated for some time,” Bennett told The Daily Herald. “We believe the best protection we can give her is to have as many vaccinated adults and kids around her until she is eligible.”

Still, many parents are hesitant to get their child vaccinated.

While kids are contracting the virus in Snohomish County, only one minor has been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last month. Younger patients in general appear to be less likely to get severely ill from the disease.

That could make it tempting to dismiss the need to vaccinate young kids, said Dr. Mary Fairchok, a pediatric infectious disease specialist in Tacoma.

At a Washington State Hospital Association briefing earlier this week, Fairchok said the virus is still killing young people. At some points through the pandemic, COVID rose to a top-10 leading cause of death for young children.


“Kids at this age are not supposed to die,” she said. “As long as there’s tinder for the fire — meaning unvaccinated individuals who can get infected — we’re not going to get on top of it.”

Exactly how fast 5 to 11 year olds will get vaccinated is yet to be seen.

“I think we’re all familiar with a lot of tragic cases of when vaccines were available to adults and people hesitated and they got very sick or died while they were still trying to wait and see,” said Swedish pediatrician Dr. John Hawes. “And I don’t want us to do that with children.”

Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @yawclaudia.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Report of downed hot air balloon turns up farmer’s tarp near Snohomish

Two 911 callers believed they saw a hot air balloon crash, leading to a major search-and-rescue response. It was a false alarm.

People gather for a color throw at Stanwood and Camano’s first-ever Pride celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘We’ve at least come a little ways’: Snohomish to host first Pride event

A 10 a.m. parade on First Street will be followed by a pop-up market with 60 vendors, a downtown wine walk, queer cabaret and more.

The site of a former 76 gas station and a handful of century old buildings will be the location for new apartments buildings at the corner of Pacific and Rucker on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Old gas station demolished for apartments in downtown Everett

A 200-unit apartment complex between three and seven stories tall is proposed at Pacific and Rucker avenues.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Police: Marysville man fist-bumped cop, exposing tattoos of wanted robber

The suspect told police he robbed three stores to pay off a drug debt. He’d just been released from federal prison for another armed robbery.

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Gabriela Kelpe at her home on Friday, June 2, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Long waits, big bills: Everett mom’s painful search for dental care

When she learned she needed a root canal, Gabriela Kelpe read an infection could go to her unborn baby. But she struggled to get affordable care.

Most Read