COVID-19 immunity increasing in Washington, but not quickly enough

Us Health Panel Reviews J&j Vaccine Pause Over Rare Clots
Matt Rourke

FILE - In this March 26, 2021, file photo, a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup at a Salvation Army location in Philadelphia. With the U.S. pause of the vaccine, authorities are weighing whether to resume the shots the way European regulators decided to -- with warnings of a “very rare” risk. New guidance is expected late Friday, April 23, after a government advisory panel deliberates a link between the shot and a handful of vaccine recipients who developed highly unusual blood clots.

OLYMPIA, Wash — The Washington State Department of Health says the state is seeing increased immunity for COVID-19, but it’s not high enough to slow transmission of the virus in the state.

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In a COVID update released Thursday, DOH says the R number in Washington is still over two. The R number reflects how many other people are infected by someone with COVID-19. Health experts have said since the pandemic began that the number needs to be below one to slow transmission enough to end the pandemic.

GETTING VACCINATED: Make a vaccine appointment – Washington

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In early April, the statewide immunity was 26.8%. At the time, immunity from vaccination was just starting to surpass immunity from previous infection.

While a rise in immunity is a good sign, it’s not rising fast enough to counteract what the state calls “risky behavior.”

RELATED COVERAGE: Updated case information and vaccine locations in Washington and Oregon

Statewide, cases are going up and hospital admissions are increasing. As of April 8th, that was happening in most of the counties in the state.

Case rates are up in all age groups except people 70 and over. That age group was the first to be eligible for the vaccine and also represents people most at risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

RELATED COVERAGE: COVID-19 hospitalizations tumble among US senior citizens

Right now, kids between birth and age nine actually represent higher case counts than people over 70.

The vaccine wasn’t available for healthy people 16 and over until last week.

RELATED COVERAGE: Vaccines open to all Washingtonians 16+ as health officials warn of 4th wave

“Vaccination is working, but immunity isn’t high enough yet to combat increasing disease levels. All of us, including people who are fully vaccinated, need to keep taking steps to slow the spread while we vaccinate more people,” said Acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH. “Keep your social circles small and whenever you plan an activity with others, take it outside. Wear your mask every single time you’re around others, indoors or outdoors. If you’ve gotten your vaccine, you still have a role to play – encourage and help people you know to get vaccinated.”

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