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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2021
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to give personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
This information helps CDC monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in near real time. Depending on your answers to the v-safe questions, someone from CDC may call to check on you or your child and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get additional COVID-19 vaccine doses if you or your child needs one.
Parents and guardians can enroll children ages 5 years and older in v-safe and complete health check-ins on their behalf after they have been vaccinated for COVID-19. All family members who are eligible to be vaccinated can be enrolled in v-safe. Parents and guardians should use their smartphone to complete a separate v-safe registration for each child. All v-safe communications will be sent to the parent’s or guardian’s smartphone.
If you are enrolled in v-safe and report that you were pregnant at the time of vaccination or after vaccination, the CDC COVID-19 Pregnancy Registry team might contact you to learn more. If you choose to enroll in the registry, you will be contacted several times throughout your pregnancy for additional health check-ins.
More about v-safe:
If you have symptoms or health problems that concern you at any time following COVID-19 vaccination, please contact your healthcare provider. Also, if you have not been able to report your post-vaccination experience in v-safe (because of a missed or expired health check-in), you can report adverse events after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
VAERS is an important tool, but it is not a resource for medical advice or cause-and-effect data about vaccination. Unfortunately, VAERS reports can be misrepresented to portray vaccines as dangerous or being linked to far more incidents than ones that can be verified. It’s important to understand what VAERS is, what it isn’t, and keep the information in context. VAERS allows anyone to report any adverse event that occurs following a vaccination, COVID or otherwise. Then CDC reviews the report, may request additional information from the reporter, and makes a determination. However, submissions can include concerns that may or may not actually be linked to vaccination, and the system is not set up to identify whether the vaccine caused the reported side effect.
If there are signals in VAERS of a potential concern or known reactions happening more frequently than expected, it sparks separate review by experts. We saw that process play out earlier this year when there was a temporary pause, review, and then recommendation to resume use of the J&J vaccine. Reports in VAERS “may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable,” according to the CDC.
We know there are lots of myths and misinformation going around about COVID-19 and vaccines. For more credible information, check out Washington State Department of Health (DOH) series “Just the Facts” or CDC’s “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines.”
Snohomish County’s first wave of pediatric COVID-19 vaccine deliveries was expected to bring around 16,000 doses in the initial days of pediatric vaccination efforts. With about 75,000 children 5-11 years of age in our county, it just isn’t mathematically possible to vaccinate everyone immediately right out the gate.
“As many may recall from last winter, the first few weeks of a vaccine rollout can be frustrating and disappointing for those looking for appointments,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “While it may feel like there are no vaccines in Snohomish County, I can assure you that hundreds of kids are getting vaccinated every day now.”
Preliminary numbers of Snohomish County children vaccinated should become available in the near future. Providers have three days enter in vaccination records into the Washington State Immunization Information System (WAIIS), and the DOH takes a couple days before data is available to local health jurisdictions.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shared during a press briefing that weekly allocations from the federal government will 75,000 doses statewide for the next several weeks. While additional supplies from the federal government will continue to flow, no forecast for allocations beyond that timeframe are available.
To ensure an equitable distribution of available doses, DOH has established allocations by county based on several factors:
Based on that formula, Snohomish County COVID-19 vaccine providers will receive 6,600 doses per week over the next several weeks. DOH will also take inventory and reporting into account, and potentially reduce provider orders who have inventory over 50% of received doses. That 50% inventory buffer allows providers to reserve some supply for second doses.
Federal allocations directly to retail pharmacies will be in addition to these figures, but we do not have visibility on those numbers. Currently, our estimate is that about 5,000 doses per week are currently going to retail pharmacies in Snohomish County. Remember that pharmacies are a key part of the strategy for implementing vaccination, so continue checking the appointment websites of chain pharmacies for pediatric and booster doses.
“Please be patient, keep trying, and know that in time over the next several months every child will get their chance. Vaccines continue to arrive daily, and pediatric vaccine providers are adding appointments every day,” added Dr. Spitters.
To help find where vaccines may be available in Snohomish County, the Health District has compiled a list of providers and pharmacies that are anticipated to be offering vaccines with doses on hand or expected deliveries. Parents and caregivers can use this to help them navigate which websites and appointment systems to focus on. However, this list is preliminary, and deliveries may not have happened yet.
DOH has also updated its Vaccine Locator and to add an option to search for “Pfizer-BioNTech Pediatric” vaccine. If you have questions or need help scheduling an appointment, call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 833-VAX-HELP, or the Snohomish Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Language assistance is available with both numbers.
The testing schedule for next week is as follows:
Appointments for testing are available at www.snohd.org/testing.
The Ash Way Park & Ride location will be offering vaccines only on Wednesday, Nov. 17 and Thursday, Nov. 18.
The site will offer Pfizer (12+), Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as supplies allow. First, second, third, and booster doses will be available. Appointments are required and can be done online at www.snohd.org/drivethru.
As a reminder, the drive-through mass vaccination clinics operated by the Snohomish Health District will not be offering vaccines for those under 12 at this time. Any vaccine appointments made for children under 12 years of age at the Ash Way Park & Ride location will be cancelled.
Those without internet access, needing language assistance, or requiring additional support in scheduling can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing or vaccine appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.