Update on Emergency Department and Hospital Capacity

  • Seattle Children’s continues to experience very high census and significant capacity constraints in the Emergency Department and inpatient areas.
  • The recent closure of Fairfax Behavioral Health and decision by Providence Everett to close its pediatric beds to make space for adult patients have further constrained our hospital capacity.
  • Last Friday, July 1, the hospital moved to contingency status for staffing. Contingency falls under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Disaster Planning guidelines and is part of a continuum that ranges from “conventional” to “contingency,” and, finally, “crisis.” Moving to contingency means that the workspaces, staff and/or supplies used are not consistent with daily practices but maintain or have minimal impact on usual patient care processes.
  • We continue to run under a disaster incident command structure to rapidly manage issues and ensure safe care for the patients that need us.
  • Our region is reporting that most hospitals are over 100% capacity and some are reporting their highest occupancy ever. This is resulting in rural critical access hospitals (those without critical care capabilities) frequently boarding critically ill patients in their Emergency Departments for prolonged periods of time. It is also stressing the EMS system and impacting 911 response times in certain areas of the state.
  • It is imperative that our provider colleagues manage patients in primary care whenever possible and appropriate. If sending patient to the Seattle Children’s ED, please call our Communications Center at 206-987-8899 first. This will help us to manage and plan for necessary space and staffing. Please also inform the family we will see them as soon as we can but there is likely to be a wait.
  • See our Emergency or Urgent Care Referral Guide.

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Ages 6 Months to 4 Years Old

Seattle Children’s is now able to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 6 months to 4 years (under 5 years old) based on approvals last month from the CDC, Washington State Department of Health and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

Vaccines available

  • For children under 5 years of age, Seattle Children’s offers either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
  • Parents/caregivers may choose which vaccine their child receives upon arrival at the clinic.
  • For children age 5 and older and adults, Seattle Children’s offers only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.


  • Vaccines are available at our main hospital campus vaccine clinic and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) Othello.
  • Our South Clinic in Federal Way plans to offer the vaccine beginning in late July or early August.

How to schedule a vaccine appointment

  • Vaccines are available by appointment only. 
  • At the hospital campus vaccine clinic: Parents, caregivers and community members may schedule an appointment for their child on the COVID-19 Vaccines at Seattle Children’s. The clinic is open Monday to Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • At OBCC Othello: Parents, caregivers and community members may call 206-987-7210 to schedule an appointment for their child. Appointments are available during clinic hours Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

About the vaccines for children ages 6 months to 4 years old (under 5)

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for young children is a three-dose series. The second dose is recommended three weeks after the first dose, and the third dose is recommended at least two months after the second dose.
  • The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series. The second dose is recommended four weeks after the first dose. An additional third dose is recommended for children who are immunocompromised at least one month after the second dose.

Support from Child Life services

  • Child Life support is available at vaccine appointments at our main campus vaccine clinic.
  • We need prior notice to provide Child Life services at a vaccine appointment. Parents should first send an email to [email protected] before scheduling their vaccine appointment. We will contact them to discuss how we can support them or their child.
  • With prior notice, we can offer:
    • A pre-vaccination clinic visit where a parent or caregiver can visit our clinic, discuss your needs and create a plan with the Child Life specialist
    • A private room or space where we can administer the vaccine
    • Extra time to support patients with sensory or emotional needs as appropriate and within state and federal regulations

We thank our community provider colleagues for continuing to recommend COVID-19 vaccines to their patients as medically advisable.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccination at Seattle Children’s, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccines at Seattle Children’s webpage.