Hundreds of Whidbey Island kids have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday afternoon, with more to come later this week, according to county health officials.
Island County held vaccination clinics in Oak Harbor and Langley with promising results. A total of 254 children between 5 and 11 years old received the shot Nov. 13 at the Oak Harbor clinic, and 159 kids of the same age group were signed up to receive shots at the Nov. 16 clinic in Langley as of Monday afternoon, according to Island County COVID Response Manager Don Mason.
County health officials said they were pleased with the turnout since they hadn’t known what to expect going into the clinics. But there is still a long way to go since there are 4,100 children in the 5-to-11-year-old age range living in Island County.
Susan Wagner, the county’s COVID response Public Health branch manager, said Saturday’s six-hour clinic in Oak Harbor was “absolutely wonderful.”
“We had many brave children that included laughers, criers, screamers and attempted escapes,” she joked.
The county will host one more clinic this week for Central Whidbey, which will take place from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 at Coupeville Elementary School. As of Monday evening, 51 children were signed up to receive their first dose on Thursday, though county officials are confident many of the remaining slots will fill before that time arrives.
Numbers provided by the county only account for these clinics and do not include children who may have been vaccinated at their doctor’s office or a pharmacy.
The Pfizer vaccine was first approved for emergency use for children ages 5-11 at the end of October.
In its most recent COVID brief, the county reported 27 cases among children under 12 in the two-week period ending Nov. 10. The 14-day case rate was 212 per 100,000 kids in that age group. In comparison, the case rate for people 20 years old and older was just 189 per 100,000 during that same timeframe.
The county will be holding another set of clinics in December for children who began the inoculation process this week to receive their second doses. These follow-up clinics will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at Oak Harbor Elementary School; 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7 at South Whidbey Elementary School; and 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9 at Coupeville Elementary School.
The county is also offering home vaccine outreach in which a vaccination team will go to someone’s residence to administer shots; the service is for families who cannot attend the clinics or receive the shots from their doctors or pharmacies.
For information about home outreach, call the COVID Call Center at 360-678-2301.