Spokane health leaders express the importance of vaccinating younger children

SPOKANE, Wash.– Roughly 47,000 children in Spokane can now get the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the nation’s top health experts approved Pfizer’s shot for the 5-11 age group. That means all school-age children can be vaccinated.

When it comes to getting children in that age group to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine, the Spokane Regional Health District will work with schools across the county to put on COVID-19 and flu clinics in the next few weeks.

Even though fewer kids have died from the coronavirus compared to adults across the U.S., health leaders said it’s important for them to still get that vaccine and the flu shot. That’s because it’s crucial to protect them from getting seriously sick as the weather gets colder and the holidays approach.

“It’s effective, it’s safe and will prevent our children, not only from contracting the disease but perhaps developing one of the more serious side effects of COVID-19, which we don’t want them to get,” said Spokane County’s health officer Dr. Frank Velazquez. “We want our kids to remain in school, we want our kids to go to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holidays with the family. Anything we can do to protect them.”

Even though COVID-19 numbers across the state are going down, doctors said the vaccine approval for younger kids is a major step in the fight against the virus. When it comes to state numbers, nearly 680,000 children are now eligible to get the vaccine.

Last week, Spokane’s two-month average new case rate was 625 per 100,000 people. Now, that number is at 537 cases per 100,000 people.

Spokane Regional Health said the case rate for kids ages five to 12 is 852 cases per 100,000 in a two-week span. When it comes to kids 13 to 17, the rate is 747 cases.

Even if you or your children contracted the coronavirus, health experts like Kayla Myers at SRHD said it’s important to still get the shot.

“Anybody who’s had COVID should still get the vaccine, just because we know the efficacy of being vaccinated. but the efficacy of having COVID and how many antibodies you have after that is still, it’s relative as well,” Myers said.

MORE: Everything you need to know about making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for your younger children

EXPLAINER: What to know about vaccines for kids aged 5-11