OLYMPIA – On Wednesday, Nov. 3, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced that parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their younger kids can now be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The announcement followed the message from the Western States Scientific Safety Advisory Group that reviewed the CDC emergency use authorization (EUA) and confirmed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

Arthur Reingold, MD, Chair of the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup explained in a memo to various governors that their team thoroughly reviewed the evidence from the clinical trial in children ages 5 – 11 years of the 10 µg PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and was confident that the benefits of this vaccine for children ages 5-11 years substantially outweigh any known or likely risks. Therefore, the Workgroup supported its use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a two-dose series of 10 µg per dose given three weeks apart.

Gov. Inslee was excited about the announcement and said that it gets us, “a step closer to having the entire population of Washington eligible for the vaccine. And a step closer to finding our way out of this pandemic.”

Further, Inslee shared that because of these steps, the challenges of cases in schools should be more manageable and that ideally, this means that less transmission, fewer absences, and healthier kids and educators.

“I encourage parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated,” said Inslee. Vaccine appointments and clinics can be found at https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/.”

Daniel Albert is an Award-Winning journalist majoring in Integrated Strategic Communications at Washington State University.