Washington Expands COVID Booster Eligibility To Ages 12+

OLYMPIA, WA — More Washington youth can now receive COVID-19 booster shots in Washington, following final approvals that expand eligibility for a third dose to children ages 12 to 15. The latest expansion follows the approval of boosters for 16 and 17-year-olds last month.

“We know booster doses increase an individual’s protection against COVID-19, which is especially important as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads across our state,” said Dr. Umair Shah, state Secretary of Health. “Many Washington residents as young as 12 are now at that five-month mark and will benefit from a booster. We highly encourage everyone who is eligible not to delay and get your booster shot today.”

During a news briefing Thursday, Shah noted that daily case counts continue to surge to new, all-time highs as the highly infectious omicron variant continues to gain ground. Hospitalizations are also increasing, doubling over the last month, and spurring the Washington State Medical Association to call on Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a crisis as medical facilities across the state are stretched beyond capacity.

According to the state Department of Health, nearly 2 million Washingtonians have already received a booster or third dose. Anyone who received a Pfizer vaccine for their first two doses is eligible for a booster five months after they completed the series, and Moderna patients can seek a booster after six months. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended for a booster after two months. All boosters can be “mixed and matched,” meaning they do not have to be the same as the initial two-dose series.

On top of the expansion to younger youth this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also expanded eligibility for additional doses to children ages 5 to 11 who are immunocompromised.

“Children and adults who are immunocompromised are at increased risk for severe infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, Washington’s chief science officer. “Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to protect our communities from the worst outcomes of this disease. Staying current with vaccination recommendations is essential to protecting our most vulnerable.”

Learn more about getting a booster dose by visiting the DOH website, or search for appointments using the Vaccine Locator tool or Vaccines.gov.

Source: Bellevue Patch