Snohomish County Health District building on Rucker Avenue in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Snohomish County Health District building on Rucker Avenue in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Vaccinated seniors are largely missing COVID’s fourth wave

The high level of protection for seniors is proof that vaccines work, health experts say.

EVERETT — Washingtonians 65 and older, who are most likely to be fully vaccinated, are the only age group not experiencing increases in COVID cases and hospitalizations, local and state data shows.

Despite high levels of virus transmission and hospitalizations, the COVID death rate has stayed relatively flat, and long-term care homes are avoiding large outbreaks.

The high level of protection for seniors, who are most vulnerable to severe illness or death from the virus, is proof that vaccines work and are the most effective tool to end the pandemic, public health experts say.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated, now is the time to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community,” state health officer Dr. Scott Lindquist said in a news release. “We can all help by talking to people we know about vaccination. Every vaccine makes a difference.”

As of mid-April, 60% of Snohomish County residents 65 and older were fully vaccinated, while another 10% were awaiting a second dose, according to Snohomish Health District data.

The next highest rate was among residents 50 to 64, in which 30% were fully vaccinated.

In total, more than half of county adults have received at least one shot, and 38% are fully vaccinated.

While seniors were among the first in the state to be eligible for shots, it’s time for everyone else to catch up, health officials say.

“Most transmission is occurring among younger adults,” the health district said in a news release. “The goal is not only to prevent bad outcomes, including long-term health impacts, but also to interrupt the sustained transmission being seen locally. In order to achieve that, everyone needs to be on board. Even those at lower risk.”

Recent data shows COVID transmission in Snohomish County may be plateauing, but the case count is still above the benchmarks to stay in Phase 3.

Local leaders want to administer another 100,000 shots ahead of the state’s next phase evaluation in two weeks.

The county’s vaccine task force has opened slots through May 18 across its six operating mass vaccination clinics, though appointments are no longer required.

To find hours or to book an appointment, call 425-339-5278 or visit www.bit.ly/snocovaccine.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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