The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup Sunday completed its review of the federal process and has unanimously concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective for children as young as 6 months old. The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the governors of Washington, California, Nevada and Oregon this afternoon.
The Moderna two-dose vaccine series and the Pfizer three-dose vaccine series are now available to children as young as 6 months old. The Washington State Department of Health last week said once vaccines were approved they will begin supplying healthcare providers with vaccines for children ages 6 months to 4 years.
On Friday, June 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the vaccines in children as young as 6 months old, and the CDC affirmed that decision on Saturday. The Workgroup reviewed the federal decisions on Saturday and affirmed them today.
The Workgroup thoroughly reviewed safety and efficacy data for the vaccines. The Workgroup found that completion of either vaccine series produced antibody levels similar to those achieved in individuals aged 16-25 years. Observed vaccine reactions among infants aged 6-12 months and children aged 1 through 5 years were consistent with reactions to other vaccines routinely recommended for these age groups.
The Workgroup concluded that the benefits of completing either vaccine series substantially outweigh any known or likely risks. Immunization can be expected to reduce the numbers of COVID-19-related serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in young children while facilitating their participation in normal educational, social and recreational activities.
Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California's COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October 2020. The workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA's actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.
Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:
"This is excellent news for Washington families and I know many parents who have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get their youngest children vaccinated. I encourage parents to contact their trusted providers to discuss any questions or concerns. These vaccines remain the most important tool in our continued efforts to keep people safe from severe COVID illness or hospitalization."
Wildfire Season Approaching
As summer approaches, so does the possibility of fires and dangerous smoke. Nationally, more than 80 percent of wildfires are started by people. Washingtonians all have a part to play to prevent, and prepare for, dangerous wildfires.
Wildfire smoke contains small particles and gases, including carbon monoxide. These particles can enter your eyes and lungs and cause health problems. State agencies are hosting 'Washington Smoke Ready' week to encourage folks to take steps now to prevent wildfire and protect against wildfire smoke.
Tips to prevent wildfire include:
Use an ashtray to fully extinguish cigarettes.
Park hot vehicles on pavement rather than dry grass.
Check trailer chains to make sure they don't drag and cause sparks.
Tips to find relief from wildfire smoke include:
Make a low-cost, effective clean air fan.
Set your home and vehicle air conditioners to recirculate.
Delay activities that stir up dust or other particles such as vacuuming or mowing the lawn.
National Blood Shortage;
More Donors Needed
A nationwide blood shortage continues, and eligible Washingtonians are encouraged to donate. June 14 was the celebration of 'World Blood Donor Day,' and blood centers across Washington are preparing for the critical blood donation months ahead.
"We encourage Washingtonians to donate blood this summer, if they are eligible donors. We must ensure safe and reliable supply in our local communities. You could save a life with your donation, so please donate today. Thank you to our State Dept. of Health and Washington State Blood Coalition for working together to encourage donors," said Inslee.
More information about donating blood and scheduling appointments is available from local blood centers:
- Cascade Regional Blood Services
- Bloodworks Northwest
- American Red Cross