One of the largest reports on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy bolsters evidence that it is safe although the authors say more comprehensive research is needed. The preliminary results are based on reports from over 35,000 U.S. women who received either the Moderna or Pfizer shots while pregnant. Their rates of miscarriage, premature births and other complications were comparable to those observed in published reports on pregnant women before the pandemic.
Washington state is doubling down on its COVID-19 vaccine ambitions as case counts rise and concerning coronavirus variants spread. Earlier this winter, the state was striving for 45,000 shots each day but is now aiming to administer 90,000 shots a day, provided the federal government can furnish enough supply. But reaching 90,000 shots a day could be a stiff challenge for vaccine providers. Though everyone 16 and older is now eligible for vaccination, and more than a third of Washingtonians have received at least one dose and demand is softening in some parts of the state.
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world.
Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.
Gov. Jay Inslee has set a press conference today at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch here:
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Norway lends AstraZeneca vaccine jabs to Sweden, Iceland
Norway will lend all of its 216,000 doses of AstraZeneca to neighboring Sweden and Iceland as long as its own government regulator has paused the use of the vaccine.
On March 11, Norway followed Denmark in deciding to put on hold jabs by the British-Swedish company after reports of very rare blood clots.
Health Minister Bent Hoeie said Sweden will borrow 200,000 doses and Iceland 16,000 doses. The Norwegian doses expire in June and July.
Pregnant women with COVID-19 20 times more likely to die, UW study finds
A worldwide study of 2,100 pregnant women shows that those who contracted COVID-19 during pregnancy were 20 times more likely to die than those who did not contract the virus, according to a new study led by UW Medicine and University of Oxford doctors.
“The No. 1 take-away from the research is that pregnant women are no more likely to get COVID-19, but if they get it, they are more likely to become very ill and more likely to require ICU care, ventilation, or experience preterm birth and preeclampsia,” said Dr. Michael Gravett, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and one of study’s lead authors.
Gravett says he "highly" recommends pregnant women get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sanctions-battered Iran, weary of pandemic, faces worst wave
As Iran faces what looks like its worst wave of the coronavirus pandemic yet, Tehran commuters still pour into its subway system and buses each working day, even as images of the gasping ill are repeatedly shown on state television every night.
After facing criticism for downplaying the virus last year, Iranian authorities have put partial lockdowns and other measures back in place to try and slow the virus’ spread. But in this nation of 84 million people, which faces crushing U.S. sanctions, many struggle to earn enough to feed their families. Economic pressure, coupled with the growing uncertainty over when vaccines will be widely available in the Islamic Republic, have many simply giving up on social distancing.
Iran, among the hardest-hit countries in the world and the worst-hit in the Middle East, is now reporting its highest-ever new coronavirus case numbers — more than 25,000 a day.
Ages 16 and over can get Pfizer shot at Tacoma Dome’s mass-vaccination site
Pierce County’s Department of Emergency Management is opening a mass-vaccination site at the Tacoma Dome for six weeks starting Tuesday, April 27, with the goal of getting at least 1,170 shots of the Pfizer vaccine into people's arms each day.
The site, which will have both drive-thru and walk-up access, will operate from noon to 8 p.m. each day, seven days a week except holidays, the county's emergency management department said.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds are eligible for the shots, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
To register for these events, go to FindYourCovidShot.com and pick the day to be vaccinated. For assistance signing up, call 253-798-8900.
Laos locks down capital over virus outbreak tied to Thailand
Laos locked down its capital and closed its international borders to most traffic Thursday after identifying a COVID-19 cluster connected to its bigger neighbor Thailand.
Residents of the capital Vientiane are barred from leaving the city and outsiders must get permission to enter. Its international borders were closed except to trucks carrying goods and in cases allowed by the nation’s COVID-19 taskforce, state news agency KPL reported.
The restrictions were reportedly ordered after 28 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed Wednesday. All of the cases were connected to Thailand, which is battling its worst wave of the disease, the Laos government said.
U.S. sees unprecedented drop in COVID vaccinations
Daily coronavirus vaccinations have slowed significantly for the first time since February, a sign that demand is slipping even though every American adult is now eligible for the shots.
About 3 million Americans are getting vaccinated daily, an 11% decrease in the seven-day average of daily shots administered over the past week. The unprecedented drop is rivaled only by a brief falloff that occurred in February, when winter storms forced the closure of vaccination sites and delayed shipments nationwide.
Officials say they need to ramp up efforts to vaccinate hard-to-reach groups such as rural residents and homebound seniors, answer pointed questions from people leery of side effects and convince young people who don’t fear the virus that they, too, benefit from getting vaccinated.
Burning Man mulling mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for August
Burning Man festival organizers have said that they are considering requiring attendees to prove they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 if the organizers move forward with plans to hold this year’s counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert.
The organizers backed off an earlier statement from Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell who said in a video message posted on the group’s web site on April 8 that “vaccines will be required to come to Burning Man.”
They say they won’t decide for sure until the end of the month whether the event that was canceled last year because of the pandemic will take place this summer.