COVID-19 Vaccines for Children 6 Months to 4 Years to Be Available Soon

Reading Time: 3 minutes

June 17, 2022

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include use in children 6 months of age and older.

For the Moderna vaccine, the FDA amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 17 years of age. The vaccine had been previously authorized for use in adults 18 years of age and older. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the FDA amended the EUA to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 4 years of age. The vaccine had been previously authorized for use in individuals 5 years of age and older.

The FDA’s evaluation and analysis of the safety and effectiveness data of these vaccines was comprehensive and rigorous. Prior to making the decision to authorize these vaccines, the FDA’s independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee was consulted and voted in support of the authorizations.

Before these vaccines can be made available, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices must vote on whether to recommend them–a vote is scheduled for this weekend—as well as the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

When fully authorized, Skagit County Public Health will offer these vaccines at its downtown Mount Vernon clinic at 700 S 2nd Street (3rd floor). To best serve the public and to account for increased demand, all COVID vaccines will be made available at the Public Health clinic by appointment only over the next two weeks.

Please note: Vaccines appointments for this newly authorized group are not yet available at this time. Once Public Health has approval to move forward, appointments will be added to the website at www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine. For those who need assistance scheduling, please call the Public Health office at (360) 416-1500.

To make an appointment with a different vaccine provider, use the Vaccine Locator online tool at https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ or call the state hotline at 1-800-525-0127.


Las vacunas COVID-19 para niños de 6 meses a 4 años estarán disponibles pronto

17 de junio de 2022

Hoy, la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos de los Estados Unidos (FDA) autorizó el uso de emergencia de la vacuna Moderna COVID-19 y la vacuna Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 para incluir el uso en niños de 6 meses de edad en adelante.

Para el Caso Moderna vaccine, la FDA enmendó la autorización de uso de emergencia (EUA) para incluir el uso de la vacuna en personas de 6 meses a 17 años de edad. La vacuna había sido previamente autorizada para su uso en adultos mayores de 18 años. Para pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, la FDA enmendó la EUA para incluir el uso de la vacuna en individuos de 6 meses a 4 años de edad. La vacuna había sido previamente autorizada para su uso en personas de 5 años de edad y mayores.

La evaluación y el análisis de la FDA de los datos de seguridad y eficacia de estas vacunas fue exhaustivo y riguroso. Paratomar la decisión de autorizar estas vacunas, se consultó y votó a favor de las autorizaciones al Comité Asesor de Vacunas y Productos Biológicos Relacionados independiente de la FDA.

Antes de que estas vacunas puedan estar disponibles, el Comité Asesor sobre Prácticas de Inmunización de los CDC  debe votar si las recomienda , una votación está programada para este fin de semana, así como el Grupo de Trabajo de Revisión de Seguridad Científica de los Estados Occidentales.

Cuando esté totalmente autorizado, Skagit County Public Health ofrecerá estas vacunas en su clínica del centro de Mount Vernon en 700 S 2nd Street (3rd floor). Para servir mejor al público y tener en cuenta el aumento de la demanda, todas las vacunas COVID estarán disponibles en la clínica de Salud Pública con cita previa solo durante las próximas dos semanas.

Tenga en cuenta: Las citas de vacunas para este grupo recién autorizado aún no están disponibles en este momento. Una vez que Salud Pública tenga la aprobación para seguir adelante, las citas se agregarán al sitio web en www.skagitcounty.net/COVIDvaccine. Para aquellos que necesitan asistencia para programar, llame a la oficina de Salud Pública al (360) 416-1500.

Para hacer una cita con un proveedor de vacunas diferente, use la herramienta en línea Del localizador de vacunas en https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/ o llame a la línea directa estatal al 1-800-525-0127.


April is National Minority Health Month!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

April is National Minority Health Month (#NMHM2022)! This year’s theme is Give Your Community a Boost, focusing on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. CDC data show that some racial and ethnic minority groups have been impacted differently by Covid, showing how these communities have experienced higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death.

Together let’s debunk misinformation and encourage our communities to get fully vaccinated. Join us and @MinorityHealth to learn how to #BoostYourCommunity or visit www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/nmhm/.

Here in Skagit County

According to our 2020-21 Skagit Community Health Assessment when COVID hit, the Hispanic/ Latino community, along with other communities of color were disproportionately harmed by COVID. Why? Hispanics / Latinos are disproportionally represented in essential workforces and consequently, overexposed to the virus.

COVID-19 cases and rates in Skagit per 100,000 population, by race and ethnic origin show how 2,025 cases were made up by Indigenous Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander, Hispanic (all races), American Indian/Alaska Native, people of color and Asian.

Why is it important?

Reducing health disparities and improving health equity for our racial and ethnic minority groups will help save lives, reduce the risk of getting sick and having severe illnesses.

Ways we can help increase vaccine confidence

Presenting several strategies to our communities can help increase COVID-19 vaccine trust and help advance vaccine equity within the community. Here are some ways we could help do that. For more strategies visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html

Develop culturally relevant materials

  • Provide messaging and tone that is culturally relevant and predominant languages spoken in the community.
  • For an example, at our mass COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine site we had all materials in both Spanish and English. Also provided patients with Spanish and Mixtec Interpreters at our site.

Partner with trusted messengers within the community

  • Collaborated with community partners like Community-to-Community development (C2C), Skagit County YMCA, Skagit Valley College, Chinook Enterprises, Boys and Girls Club, churches etc.

Address any community concerns or questions

  • Skagit County Public Health nurses, CHWs and Promotoras conducted a Q&A session for Spanish speaking women at the Methodist church. At our mass vaccination site staff created a safe observation area for those who had gotten vaccinated or had any questions or concerns about COVID-19.                                                   

                                                                                         

For more resources please visit:

Disparities in COVID-19-Associated Hospitalizations | CDC

National Minority Health Month 2022 (hhs.gov)

COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities (cdc.gov)

Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups | CDC

Skagit County Population Health Trust Advisory Committee

SCPH_CHA_2021_FINAL.pdf (skagitcounty.net)


COVID-19 Treatment Options

Reading Time: 2 minutes

COVID-19 medications are now available through your doctor, local pharmacies, and health clinics. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test positive, do not wait to get treated. Early intervention with COVID-19 therapeutics can reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization for people with COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing more serious illness.

If you think you might qualify, please speak to your healthcare provider first and get a referral and/or prescription for treatment. Please note that any healthcare provider can evaluate and prescribe you COVID-19 medication just as they normally would.

For assistance:

What is PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is medication designed to block a virus from attachment and entering human cells. People 12 years and older may qualify for pre-exposure prophylaxis if persons are:

  • Not currently infected with COVID-19.
  • At least 88 pounds (40 kg) in weight.
  • Moderate to severely immune compromised.
  • Not recommended by their health care provider to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Please note: Pre-exposure prevention with Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended. 

What are Oral Antivirals?

Two treatments are available: Paxlovid™ (Pfizer) and molnupiravir (Merck). Oral antiviral treatment may help your body fight COVID-19 by stopping the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) from multiplying in your body, lowering the amount of the virus within your body, or helping your immune system. By getting treatment, you could have less serious symptoms and may lower the chances of your illness getting worse and needing care in the hospital. You must take oral COVID-19 medication within 5 days of your first COVID-19 symptoms.

What are Monoclonal Antibody Treatments?

If you are at risk for severe COVID-19 illness and you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you may want to consider a monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment. You may qualify for a mAb treatment (bebtelovimab) to treat COVID-19 depending on your age, health history, and how long you have had symptoms. A mAb treatment may help people who:

  • Are at high risk of getting more serious symptoms; and
  • Have a positive COVID-19 test with symptoms for 7 days or less; OR
  • Have been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive.

How much does treatment cost?

Treatment is provided free of charge by the Federal Government, although each provider may charge an administration fee that will be billed to your insurance provider with a possible copay for the patient. If uninsured, call the State COVID-19 Information Hotline for assistance: 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

For more information:


April is National Volunteer Month

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Contributed by guest writer, Rosemary Alpert

Across the country, communities are acknowledging, celebrating, and showing appreciation for volunteers on April 17-23rd, 2022 for National Volunteer Week.

Here is an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation:

“Over the past year, we have seen that the American spirit of service is alive and well.  Every day, Americans are giving their love and labor to care for seniors, help communities rebuild after disasters, support veterans and military families, tackle climate change, guide and mentor our youth, serve and strengthen the democratic process, feed the hungry, and keep communities healthy and safe.  Tens of millions of Americans collectively volunteer billions of hours of their time each year.  This commitment to service represents the best of who we are as Americans.  During National Volunteer Week, we recognize the contributions that our Nation’s volunteers make every day and encourage all Americans to discover their path to making a difference.” – President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. April 15, 2022

On Monday, April 11th, Skagit County Commissioners gathered and officially proclaimed the entire month of April to be “Volunteer Appreciation Month,” honoring volunteers from across Skagit County. These incredible volunteers dedicated thousands of hours in service, supporting our community’s well-being during these unprecedented times.

April 21st, 2022 marks two years since Skagit County opened its COVID-19 Testing Site at Skagit Valley College. For over two years, volunteers have stepped up, serving on the frontline at the testing and vaccination site, either at Skagit Valley College or the Skagit County Fairgrounds.

Did you know?
Skagit County has hosted the longest running, low barrier
COVID-19 testing site in the state of Washington
—due in large part to the ongoing support of our dedicated volunteers!

Between March 2020 to the present, approximately 270 volunteers have contributed 15,390 hours of service to the County’s emergency response. Each week, volunteers responded to our call for assistance, filling whatever positions needed to be filled, from traffic directors to vaccinators.

In addition to our COVID response, volunteers also helped to staff the Cold Weather Shelter that was opened in Concrete twice during the past winter. This shelter served the community of Concrete (and the surrounding area), saving lives for thirteen extremely cold nights.

Beloved Community, which requires lasting personal commitment that cannot weaken when faced with obstacles.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

People volunteer for many reasons. Each share their life experience, interests, gifts, and most importantly—their time. We’ve heard so many moving stories over the past two years. For example, one of our Medical Reserve Corps volunteer vaccinators shared how touched she was especially when young children were able to be vaccinated. It was a highly emotional time; parents were filled with relief and appreciation, brave children were being cared for by experienced medical volunteers, tending to each person, one arm at a time.

Skagit County has incredible volunteers and there are so many more opportunities to get involved! One of the best resources for volunteer opportunities is through Skagit Volunteer Center (a division of Community Action). For more information, visit their online portal at Skagit Volunteer Center.

This is an exciting time for our community and volunteers as the County Commissioners support the re-building of Skagit County’s Medical Reserve Corps. This will allow Public Health to establishing a team of medical and non-medical volunteers throughout Skagit County in support of the ongoing COVID-19 response, along with new volunteer opportunities for community outreach, wellness, and preparedness. For more information on Skagit County Medical Reserve Corps, please contact ralpert@co.skagit.wa.us.

As the beautiful tulips are blooming across Skagit County, let us celebrate the month of April and recognize the courage and flexibility of our volunteers, as well as their many hours of dedicated volunteer service that has helped to keep our beloved community healthy, safe, and moving forward!

Thank you, volunteers!

For more information about MRC: MRC | Home (hhs.gov).

“Skagit Tulips”, ©Rosemary DeLucco Alpert

Public Health Is Where You Are: Help Celebrate National Public Health Week!

Reading Time: < 1 minute

These recent years we have seen how critical Public health is.  American Public Health Association and Skagit County Public Health are excited to invite you to celebrate  National Public Health this week. This year’s theme is “Public Health is Where You Are.”

Public health covers countless issues/ topics and practices that help every individual’s ability to live a long, healthy life. Together we can make our communities safer, healthier, and stronger!

So, what are some ways you, friends and family can get involved? Keep scrolling or visit www.NPHW.org for more info.

Get Involved

  • Help spread the word and become a NPHW partner.
  • Host a NPHW activity in your community.
  • Join Generation Public Health, a movement that’s all about creating the healthiest nation in one generation.
  • Help APHA by hosting a Keep It Moving Challenge event or participate in one.
  • Celebrate and support gratitude for public health.
  • Look for ways to strengthen our communities, locally and globally.
  • Help dismantle racism in your community.
  • Hold accountable companies, people, and organizations responsible for climate change.
  • Ensure public health authority to public health workers and families by progressing policies for paid sick leave and living wage.
  • Help make sure that health and wellness are not just available, but accessible to everyone in your community.

There are countless ways to make your voice heard and become part of the movement for public health. To learn more about this year’s daily themes go to https://www.nphw.org/Themes-and-Facts. Also, make sure to check APHA’s toolkits for more ways to keep the momentum going in your community.


Is It COVID-19 or Allergies? What are the Differences?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Spring season is here and, for several of us, that also means allergy season. Right now, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether you may be experiencing a cold, COVID, or allergies with the change of season.

A safe way to check before spending time with friends or loved ones is to take a COVID-19 test. To look for locations that offer COVID-19 testing, please visit our site at https://skagitcountywa.gov/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusTESTsites.htm. To identify common symptoms, here are some key differences between COVID and seasonal allergies.

Differences

Seasonal Allergies Symptoms

  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (if you have asthma)
  • Fatigue (mild)
  • Sore throat
  • Wet cough
  • Snoring

Common Symptoms

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Different types of skin rashes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Sneezing

As you can see, allergies and COVID-19 share several common symptoms. Even though they look similar, there are some distinctions. If you are not sure if you’re suffering from allergies or COVID, please seek out a COVID-19 test to avoid potentially spreading the virus to others. 

When to seek emergency care

If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble breathing, persistent chest pain (pressure in the chest), and skin is looking pale, gray, or blue-colored, please seek medical care right away.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms mentioned above, please feel free to visit us at our COVID-19 Test Site located at the Burlington Cascade Mall for a free COVID-19 rapid antigen test. If you test positive for COVID-19 at home, please stay home and contact your provider. Make sure to monitor and watch for symptoms. For more information check out the CDC website.

For more resources please visit:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC

Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID19) (skagitcounty.net)


It’s Not Luck! 3 Tips to Prepare for an Emergency

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Have you ever asked yourself if you or your loved ones are ready in case of a disaster? With recent floods within the county, it is smart to start to preparing yourself, family and friends for any type of emergency. This March, in association with St. Patrick’s Day, the “It’s Not Luck” campaign asserts that no one should rely on luck when it comes to being prepared for disasters and emergencies. After all, luck is for the leprechauns. Don’t leave disaster prep to chance.

Don’t know how to prepare in case of an emergency? Keep scrolling for some helpful tips.  

1. Know your risk for the area where you live and work.

Be informed of what disasters and hazards could affect your area, how to get emergency alerts, and where you would go if you and your family need to evacuate.  Make sure your family has a plan and practices it often.

Also, find out what plans are available for the locations you go regularly. Customize your personal and household plans based on what household members would do if an emergency occurred while they were at that location. 

2. Make a plan to lessen the impact of those risks.

Come up with a plan with your family, friends, or household and discuss questions like what is my shelter, communication, and evacuation plan to start your emergency plan.

As you make your plan think about specific needs in your household and responsibilities. Share your needs and responsibilities and how people in the community could possibly help each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like operating medical equipment.

Finally, fill out a family emergency plan and practice your plan with your family/ household. You can download one here at https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2021-04/family-emergency-communication-plan.pdf

3. Build a kit to be ready for disasters and emergencies.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed. Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work, and cars.

Need a checklist, no problem download a printable version to keep or to take to the store with you. https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/ready_checklist.pdf


Public Health COVID Testing Site to Open at Cascade Mall on March 14th

Reading Time: < 1 minute

March 9, 2022

Skagit County Public Health will be opening a COVID-19 testing site at Cascade Mall, located at 150 Cascade Mall Drive in Burlington, beginning on Monday, March 14th, 2022. The Fairgrounds testing site closed on Friday, March 4th.

The new site will be located on the east side of the mall parking lot near the old Johnny Carino’s restaurant. Testing services will be available on Mondays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Public Health will be offering rapid antigen testing, with results typically available between 15-45 minutes. All testing will be conducted via drive-through unless accommodations are requested. Testing services are provided at no-cost and are available to those 5 years of age and older who live, work, or go to school in Skagit County. Individuals no longer need to be symptomatic or have been recently exposed to COVID-19 to access testing services at this location.

The move to the mall will allow Public Health to right-size our testing services,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “Demand for testing ebbs and flows, so we need to be flexible to best serve our community. The new location will allow us this flexibility.

There continues to be several other testing options available in Skagit County. An updated list of testing providers can be found on our website. Free at-home test kits are also still available through the state and federal governments’ online ordering portals. For those who have not yet ordered their free COVID test kits, please use the following links to order:

For more information about Public Health’s new testing site, go to www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.


To Our Volunteers: Thank you!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Last Thursday, Skagit County Public Health celebrated the over two hundred and twenty volunteers who dedicated their time and expertise to Skagit’s COVID-19 response since the beginning of the pandemic. From the testing site first opening at Skagit Valley College in April 2020, to the move to the Fairgrounds and the incorporation of a vaccination clinic—from closing then reopening again when the Delta variant first hit—these volunteers stuck with the site through thick and thin, rain and shine.

“For me, some of the most meaningful moments came early after the pediatric vaccines were available. The parents were so emotional and grateful for being able to have their children vaccinated at last, for being able to obtain vaccine protection for them, and to maybe even getting back to a more normal life. It was very moving and helped me better understand that what we were doing was an important and valuable service for our community.”

– Fairgrounds volunteer

It takes a very special kind of person to respond to this type of call to action. When the world seemed so overwhelming and there was so much that we didn’t know, a band of dedicated individuals came together to get the testing site up and running. It was amazing to watch these same people coming back week after week, responding to the incredible needs of our community.

Volunteer Appreciation at the Skagit County Fairgrounds (March 2022)

Between 2020 and 2021, these volunteers accumulated a total of 14,852 hours of service—a level of community response never seen by our County before. From directing traffic, to administering tests and vaccinations, our volunteers have been the heroes of Public Health’s pandemic response.

As we wrap up operation at the Fairgrounds, and Public Health begins the process of relocating our testing services to a new location, we want—we need—to take this time to highlight our volunteers. Public Health could not have achieved what was achieved over the past two years without these individuals.

To our volunteers: Thank you! Whether you dedicated one, or seven hundred hours, each moment of volunteer service has been sincerely appreciated.


We’re Moving! Fairgrounds COVID-19 Testing Site Relocating After March 4th

Reading Time: < 1 minute

March 1, 2022

The Skagit County Fairgrounds COVID-19 Testing Site will be relocating after Friday, March 4, 2022, with a new location scheduled to open in mid-March. More information will be available on this relocation by next week.

“A relocation is necessary right now in order to right-size our services,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “Making these types of changes can be logistically challenging, so we appreciate the public’s patience as we enter this next chapter in our COVID response.”

There continues to be several testing other options available in Skagit County. An updated list of testing providers can be found on our website. Free at-home test kits are also still available through the state and federal governments’ online ordering portals. For those who have not yet ordered their free COVID test kits, please use the following links to order:

For more information about Public Health’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination services, go to www.skagitcounty.net/coronavirus or call Public Health at (360) 416-1500.