SRHD Supports Recommendation of Pfizer Booster Doses for Children Ages 5-11

SRHD Supports Recommendation of Pfizer Booster Doses for Children Ages 5-11

May 20, 2022

Kelli Hawkins, SRHD | | 509.324.1539, c 509.994.8968

Spokane, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced today the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup reviewed the federal process and has recommended a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least five months after their primary vaccination series for children ages 5-11. Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) supports their recommendation and will begin offering boosters in SRHD clinics once they receive final guidance from DOH.

Dr. Francisco Velázquez, health officer for SRHD, said, “It is important to ensure our children can maintain a high level of immunity so they can continue to safely participate in in-person learning, extracurricular activities, summer camps, and sports. Doing so is critical to their mental and physical well-being.”

Velázquez further explained that it is natural for vaccines to wane over time, especially with viruses that evolve quickly, creating new variants. This is also common with the flu virus, making it necessary to receive a new vaccine each year.

“Our children are at a lower risk of severe disease and hospitalization, but they are not immune from it,” Velázquez said. “We continue to see pediatric cases of COVID-19 in our hospitals, which increased with the Omicron wave.”

According to SRHD data, during the Delta wave of the pandemic, approximately Aug. 7, 2021 through Sept. 18, 2021, 8.2% of all cases and 0.6% of hospitalizations in Spokane County were children ages 5-11. Later, during the Omicron wave, approximately Jan. 1, 2022 through Feb. 5, 2022, 11.8% of all cases and 1.1% of hospitalizations in Spokane County were children ages 5-11.

Velázquez explained as more of our population can be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the less we’ll see of virus transmission and hospitalizations, and the safer it is for all members of the community to return to public activities and the freedom to be around others.

Providers administering the COVID-19 vaccines may also be waiting for final guidance, so it is prudent to reach out to your provider or pharmacy before visiting in person.

“The vaccines continue to be effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, including against the Delta and Omicron variants. We continue to see highly effective protection against hospitalizations and severe outcomes for people who are fully vaccinated,” said Velázquez.

Velázquez also explained at this time, only the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for children ages 5-17, for both the initial series and booster doses.

Those who are eligible for the initial vaccine series or the booster are encouraged to use DOH’s website or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press # to be directed to vaccine providers in Spokane County. Language assistance is available.

Health care providers are asked to enroll in vaccine administration by completing the COVID-19 Provider Inquiry Form on the DOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment webpage (under COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment).