From: Washington State Department of Health
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to get COVID-19. The vaccine also keeps them from getting seriously sick or dying if they catch the virus. But for those who do get COVID-19 — regardless of vaccination status — there’s good news. COVID-19 treatment options have improved dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic.
One type of available treatment is called monoclonal antibody treatment. It can prevent someone from getting hospitalized or even dying from COVID-19. But they need to act fast! Monoclonal antibodies must be given within 10 days of getting symptoms to work best. So, it’s important to get tested right away if symptoms develop. If you do test positive, your doctor can help you decide if this treatment is right for you.
What are monoclonal antibodies?Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that help jumpstart your immune system so you can fight off a COVID-19 infection. They can be given by a shot or an IV infusion.
“These are synthetic antibodies that stimulate your body’s own immune system,” says Dr. Bob Lutz, Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Medical Advisor. “The whole idea behind monoclonal antibodies is that they get your body ramped up a little faster to fight COVID-19.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorization for several monoclonal antibody treatments. This is because some treatments work better for certain variants of the virus. The FDA currently recommends the REGEN-COV™ and Sotrovimab monoclonal antibodies. These two treatments work very well against the variants here in Washington.
Studies show that the treatments successfully fight the virus and prevent serious illness.
“In the trials, they had very good outcomes, very low rates of hospitalization,” says Dr. Lutz. “Overall, the outcomes were much better than for those who did not receive the treatment.”
In some cases, people may qualify for monoclonal antibodies after exposure to COVID-19, even if they haven’t tested positive yet. REGEN-COV™ may be used to prevent severe illness in people with compromised immune systems if they were in contact with someone who tested positive.
What should I know about getting monoclonal antibody treatment?Monoclonal antibody therapies can treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and children 12 and older (must weigh at least 88 lbs.), who are at high risk for developing severe illness. Some fully vaccinated people may even qualify for antibody treatment if they are in a high-risk category. Regardless of vaccination status, timing is important. Once someone is hospitalized or needs oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, they are no longer eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatments. So, check with your doctor right away to decide if this treatment is right for you.
The federal government provides some monoclonal antibody treatments for free. Depending on insurance coverage, some may need to pay an administration fee. This is to cover the costs of giving the treatment, not for the antibodies. As always, check with your insurance provider to learn more about treatment costs for your specific plan, first. For people with Medicare and Medicaid, the cost of administering the treatment should be covered.
Monoclonal antibody success in AlaskaElsewhere in the country, monoclonal antibody treatments have become a powerful tool that’s helping limit the need for hospitalizations. This is particularly the case in remote communities, including some villages in Alaska.
Remote parts of Alaska and many Alaska Native communities don’t have hospitals. So, the state encouraged pharmacies and clinics to give monoclonal antibodies to people who are vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19. Alaska also sent rapid response teams to isolated villages to offer the treatments to people during outbreaks.
Coleman Cutchins is the lead pharmacist for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. He says monoclonal antibodies have made a big difference.
“I can really tell the difference between the number of people we have to medevac out when we use monoclonal antibodies and when we don’t,” Cutchins said. “I knew this was going to be a good tool in our state which is so medically vulnerable.”
The success in Alaska shows how important and life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments can be, especially in areas with limited medical resources.
So, the bottom line is this: if you test positive for COVID-19, ask your doctor if monoclonal antibody treatments are right for you. But remember, you will still need to protect others by isolating until your symptoms go away. Make sure to follow DOH guidance on what to do if you have COVID-19, even if you get antibody treatment.
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Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.
WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.
Haga clic aquí para obtener información sobre la dosis de refuerzo en español
Pacific County providers are now offering booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine! The booster doses are currently recommended for people who received Pfizer for their first 2 doses and who completed their initial Pfizer series over 6 months ago, and fall into one of the following groups:
• People are over the age of 65; OR
• People 65 and older; OR
• Residents in long-term care facilities
• People 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions
• People 18-49 years old with underlying medical conditions
• And people 18-64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupation may receive a booster, based on their individual benefits and risks.
According to the CDC, occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers, including:
• First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
• Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
• Food and agriculture workers
• Manufacturing workers
• Corrections workers
• U.S. Postal Service workers
• Public transit workers
• Grocery store workers
If you meet all of the requirements above, you are eligible for a booster vaccine. If you are unable to get an appointment at one of the above listed clinics, please be patient. We have plenty of vaccine for everyone and additional clinics are scheduled continuously. You can find additional booster dose clinics as they are scheduled, on our website at www.pacificcountycovid19.com.
Booster Dose Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get a booster dose?
Answer: Anywhere offering Pfizer vaccine. The booster doses are the same as the first and second Pfizer doses, so you can get a booster dose from medical clinics and pharmacies offering Pfizer vaccine. You can find a location near you by searching www.pacificcountycovid19.com
Can I get my booster dose at the same time as my flu shot?
Answer: Yes – great idea! You can get your COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, including the annual influenza vaccine.
If I need a booster, does that mean the vaccine isn’t working?
Answer: No. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death, including against the delta variant. But studies are showing that protection against mild and moderate illness may decrease over time, especially among certain higher risk groups. Getting a booster dose 6 months after completing the first two doses will provide an increased immune response and better protection against COVID-19.
Am I still considered fully vaccinated if I do not get a booster?
Answer: Yes. People are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
What about people who got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
Answer: The current booster dose recommendations apply only to those who received the Pfizer vaccine. Federal health officials will review data on the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the coming weeks and may issue booster dose recommendations for those vaccines in the future.
More information about the CDC recommendations for Pfizer booster doses is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/.../2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot
Call the COVID-19 Hotline 1-800-525-0127 and press #. Our Hotline team will walk your through the reporting process. Hotline hours: Monday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Tuesday to Sunday (and observed holidays) 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Language assistance is available.
Join us for our Pacific County Schools & Community Forum on COVID-19. Next Wednesday (9/22) at 5:00pm via zoom or live here on Facebook. This forum will feature a presentation by Dr Steven Krager, Deputy Health Officer along with other public health staff. Topics will include updated school safety guidance, quarantine & isolation procedures, and we'll also have time for question & answer! This forum is open to students, parents, guardians, school staff, and other interested community members. Hope to see you there! https://fb.me/e/ZfkgV8wO
Happy Monday everyone! We wanted to share a handy resource for non health care businesses who may have questions about how to handle a confirmed or potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. This document also provides guidance regarding mask requirements, prevention strategies, and employee vaccinations.
We have heard many reports of people taking at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. We are so glad that people are being proactive and getting tested! If you have a positive result after taking an at home test result, we ask that you contact a public health at 360-214-6013. Our nurses will work to support you as you navigate your COVID-19 diagnosis, and provide education for you and people you know who may have been exposed. We also have care coordinators who can assist you with housing, food, or other needs you may have while you quarantine. Thank you and please share this post with others who may find it useful!
We’ve received a lot of questions about how we determine whether a person who tests positive for COVID-19 has a variant of the virus. The COVID-19 test you’re given when you go to your doctor’s office or a drive-thru testing site detects the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) but does not differentiate between different strains (or variants) of the virus. That’s why your provider may say they can’t test for variants.
Determining whether a person is infected with a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus requires a process called genomic sequencing. That work is done at labs using the specimen collected to test for COVID-19. Genomic sequencing looks at the virus genes for mutations specific to the different variants. If a mutation is detected in a specimen, it means that person was infected with the corresponding variant.
Not all specimens are sequenced – it’s just not feasible to sequence every specimen. But the state does sequence a representative sample of all confirmed cases from across the state. Because the sample is representative – meaning the cases in the sample group reflect the overall cases in the state – it can be used to estimate the prevalence of variants in the state. The most recent sampling estimates that 95.1% of all cases in Washington are likely attributable to the Delta variant.
The state issues a report every Wednesday with data on variants in the state, including the number of cases in each county and the prevalence of variants based on the sequencing of the representative sample of cases. You can find that report here: https://www.doh.wa.gov/.../420-316...
Gov. Inslee announces expansion of mask mandate expansion and vaccine requirements for school and childcare employees
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education, as well as an expansion of the statewide mask mandate to all individuals while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The vaccination requirement will include
-K -12 educators, staff, coaches, bus drivers, volunteers and others working in school facilities will have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. This includes public, private and charter schools. This does not impact students, regardless of age.
-Licensed, certified and contracted early learning and childcare programs
-License-exempt early learning, childcare and youth-development programs
-Contractors (coaches, volunteers, trainers)
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public places beginning Monday, Aug. 23
Face coverings are strongly recommended (but not required) in crowded outdoor settings, like fairs, concerts and markets. The mask mandate will apply to nearly all public places, including: Restaurants, Grocery stores, shops, malls and public-facing offices, regardless of vaccination status.
The mandate will include limited exceptions when face coverings won’t be required, such as office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated, and when working alone indoors or in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction.
Small, private indoor gatherings where all attendees are vaccinated are also exempt from the mandate. Mask mandate: Gov. Inslee announced today that the existing statewide mask mandate that requires people who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings in indoor public places will be expanded to include people who are vaccinated.
We will share more information as it becomes available.
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised can now get a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Third doses are NOT currently being recommended for any other groups.
While authorized vaccines have proven to be more than 90% effective in protecting against most variants, emerging data suggest people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised.
As a result, the FDA, CDC and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup are recommending a third dose of mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccines to people who have:
• Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
• Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
• Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
• Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
• Advanced or untreated HIV infection
• Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
At this time, no additional dose is recommended for people who had the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the J&J vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine. People who received J&J should not get a second dose of either J&J or a dose of an mRNA vaccine.
**Third doses are NOT currently being recommended for any other groups**
Read more on the CDC website: here https://www.cdc.gov/.../vaccines/recommendations/immuno.htm
A list of COVID-19 vaccine clinic options in Pacific County can be found at www.pacificcountycovid19.com or call 360-875-9407 if you need assistance signing up.