The newly detected omicron variant in Washington state has led to a spike in demand for COVID-19 booster shots, state health officials say.

As of Monday, nearly 1.25 million additional vaccine doses have been administered statewide since Aug. 13, according data from the state Department of Health.

An additional dose includes either a booster shot, which became available to all adults late November, or a third dose, which were authorized for certain immunocompromised people in August.

While there are many unknowns about the omicron variant, including how its transmissibility compares to the delta variant, whether the variant results in severe outcomes like hospitalization or how it fares against current vaccines, Washington officials have urged people to make appointments for a booster dose.

Vaccination remains the strongest tool against the pandemic, officials say.

“Washington adults should not delay receiving their booster until more is known about omicron,” Washington state Secretary of Health Umair Shah said in a statement.

Currently anyone 18 or older can chose between a Pfizer or Moderna booster if it has been six months since their second dose. People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive a booster dose after two months.

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Demand for booster shot appointments have increased due to the new variant, Gov. Jay Inslee said. The state has recently seen a 75% increase in people searching Washington’s vaccine locator.

“So the demand has skyrocketed, but it is a relatively temporary condition. You will be able to get a vaccine if you want it,” Inslee said last week.

To keep up with demands for boosters, DOH has requested additional vaccine doses which are scheduled to arrive later this week.

Check below to see how many people in your county have received an additional dose. Keep in mind the percentage of people fully vaccinated and with an additional dose is out of total population that includes residents of all ages.

While the kid-sized two-dose series of the Pfizer COVID vaccine has been authorized for children ages 5 to 11, only people 18 and up are currently eligible to get an additional vaccine dose.



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