Peninsula offering COVID-19 booster clinics

Booster doses of COVID-19 vaccinations are available for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, with individuals able to “mix and match” their booster doses.

The booster doses are primarily geared to those most at risk of severe infection from COVID-19. They also are recommended to strengthen the protection for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, said Dr. Allison Berry, health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.

While the unvaccinated were still 6.1 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 11.3 times more likely to die from the disease compared with fully vaccinated people, breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated Americans have also climbed in recent months, according to CDC data.

Rates of cases and deaths among people who were vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s dose were higher than in those who received two shots of vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna, according to that data.

Meanwhile, the North Olympic Peninsula reported a total increase of 35 new confirmed cases on Thursday.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, as well as the ability to receive a booster dose of any of the three vaccines, regardless of the initial vaccine received.

Pfizer booster shots were approved in September.

The FDA recommends that Pfizer and Moderna boosters be taken at least six months after completion of the primary series to individuals who are:

• 65 or older

• 18 through 64 years old and at high risk of severe COVID-19

• 18 through 64 years old with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to COVID-19

The booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least two months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 or older, the FDA’s press release said.

The reason the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has a shorter time window and fewer restrictions recommended is that studies have shown people need two doses of that vaccine to have about the same protection as those who received Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine, Berry told the Jefferson County Board of Health on Thursday.

However, it is recommended that people who received J&J’s vaccine consider receiving a dose of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine in order to be better protected from mild and severe infection from COVID-19, Berry said.

Vaccinated residents can receive booster doses of different vaccines than the one they originally were given, a procedure commonly called “mix and matching,” due to the FDA’s Wednesday decision.

Pfizer’s vaccine also now has a brand name of “Comirnaty” but is still the same vaccine as before produced by that company, Berry said.

It is expected that Pfizer’s vaccine will be approved for children ages 5-11 by the first or second week of November, and officials are making plans for mass vaccination clinics for that age group once the vaccine is approved, Berry said.

Children’s doses would be about one-third of the dose given to adults, Berry said.

Jefferson County personnel also are planning for Moderna vaccination clinics. However, Pfizer was more commonly used in the county earlier in the pandemic response, so officials have a booster clinic using Pfizer’s vaccine scheduled for Saturday at Quilcene School District.

Jefferson residents can sign up for the Quilcene clinic at co.jefferson.wa.us/1429/COVID-19.

According to the latest data from the state Department of Health, 80 percent of the population 12 and older in Jefferson County have started vaccinations, with 76.4 percent fully vaccinated. Of the entire population, 73.6 percent have begun vaccination and 70.2 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

In Clallam County, 73.7 percent of the population 12 and older have started vaccinations, with 68.9 percent fully vaccinated. Of the total population, 65.5 percent have begun vaccinations, with 61.2 percent fully vaccinated, according to the state’s dashboard.

Neither county reported a new death from COVID-19 on Thursday, with Clallam County holding at 58 deaths since the pandemic began and Jefferson County at 17.

Clallam County added 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, raising its total to 4,737 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Clallam County recorded a case rate of 334 per 100,000 population for the past two weeks as of Thursday, county data said.

On Thursday, Jefferson County added 10 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 1,097 since the pandemic began, according to county public health data.

Jefferson County’s case rate, recorded weekly, was reported at 156.74 per 100,000 for the two weeks prior as of Oct. 13, according to county health data.

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