SEATTLE — It may not feel like it, but the United States is still under a public health emergency declaration from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The declaration is set to expire in May.
"I think a lot of policies are shifting towards maybe ending the restrictions, but as far as health goes, there’s a level of risk that’s always going to be there." Seattle resident Michael Lambrix said.
Now, Moderna is saying people who are insured will still get the vaccine for free. People who don't have insurance or whose insurance doesn't cover the vaccine can get the shot through the pharmaceutical company's patient assistance program, a change from January.
The Wall Street Journal reported Moderna considered charging $110-$130 per vaccine dose. In October, Pfizer said it was also looking at a similar charge for its vaccine.
A new study now shows how strong natural immunity is after someone recovers from COVID-19.
Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation COVID-19 forecasting team found people are protected against symptomatic illness for at least 10 months after COVID-19 infection at levels equal to two vaccines. They also say it's enough to where most people may only need one annual booster.
"King County has a pretty high vaccination rate, so it’s been a lot more manageable up here," Seattle's Nicklas Smith said.
But case counts are fluctuating. Students at West Seattle High School were asked to voluntarily mask up last week.
According to the school district's COVID-19 dashboard, it has seen 142 cases this year, up more than 50 cases in just over a week.