When Washington opens Covid vaccinations to anyone older than 16 on April 15, some believe that will lead to a rush of new people that will overwhelm the state’s Covid vaccine application system. The Department of Health's Michele Roberts isn’t so sure.
“Right now we have five million people eligible in our state, and about 6.3 million estimated to be 16 and older. So it’s not opening up to six million people on that day. Five million are already included," she said.
Even so, Health Secretary Umair Shah is urging the public to help make sure the senior population, those most at risk from Covid, get appointments if they want them.
He says many of the estimated 300,000 seniors who still have yet to be vaccinated may not have Internet access or be familiar with how to get a shot. He urges them to call the state's Covid hotline at 800-525 0127 to make an appointment.
On another note, health officials says a new study shows promising results from the Covid vaccine, especially for those who have only had one shot so far.
The study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 4,000 health care workers and first responders who were on the front lines of dealing with Covid patients. It found the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be 90% effective in preventing the illness, Roberts said. “The study also shows people who got one shot were 80% protected after the first two weeks.”
There's also good news related to the Pfizer vaccine and children.
“The company says the Pfizer vaccine is safe for kids age 12 to 15. In fact the trial, which followed more than 2,000 kids, found Pfizer to be 100% effective for that age group," she said.
Pfizer will submit those findings to the Food and Drug Administration to request emergency use authorization to vaccinate children. Roberts says, if approved, we could see the Pfizer vaccine authorized for that use as early as summer.