CORONAVIRUS, Health, Oregon

CDC approves COVID-19 booster shots for all adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave their stamp of approval to opening COVID-19 booster shot eligibility to every adult in the U.S. Frida, and shots could soon be available in Oregon.

A CDC advisory panel recommended the vaccine booster program be expanded to all adults Friday, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky signed off on the recommendation shortly afterward. People ages 18 and up and who received their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine six months prior or two months prior for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be eligible for a booster shot under the new approval. 

“After critical scientific evaluation, today’s unanimous decision carefully considered the current state of the pandemic, the latest vaccine effectiveness data over time, and review of safety data from people who have already received a COVID-19 primary vaccine series and booster,” Walensky said in a CDC press release Friday. “Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays. Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose.”

For Oregonians, booster shots could be available Saturday, but three more steps remain in Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccine approval process. First, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup must also approve the recommendation from the CDC. According to the Oregon Health Authority, that workgroup met Friday evening, but as of 6:45 a.m. Saturday, their recommendation has yet to be released publicly. Following that body’s approval, Oregon Governor Kate Brown is tasked with final approval in the state, and finally, Oregon’s health system must actually implement the booster program. 

Nearly 1.25 million Oregonians will become eligible when that occurs, the OHA said. 

Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccine approval process, courtesy Oregon Health Authority

Booster shots do not have to be from the same manufacturer of a person’s original vaccine, the OHA said.

“Vaccinations are still our most effective tool against COVID-19. With everyone 18 years and older eligible, now is the time to get that extra layer of protection. This is particularly important for those ages 50 and up, adults who live in long-term care settings, as well as people 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago or more,” said OHA Public Health Director Rachael Banks in a press release. “At the same time, we ask for patience as vaccine providers ramp up to administer boosters. Please know the primary series of vaccines still provides strong protection against the virus.”   

Previously, boosters had been made available only to people 65 years and older, or people ages 18 and up who have underlying medical conditions, live in long-term care settings, or live or work in high-risk settings.

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According to the latest data available from the OHA issued November 19, 68% of all Oregonians have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a 1.5% increase over the previous week. In Washington County, 72.1% of the population has received at least one dose, a 2% increase from the prior week. 

Vaccination rates for at least one dose by population for local zip codes in western Washington County as of November 19:

97106 (Banks, portions of surrounding areas): 60.7%

97117 (Gales Creek): 52.7%

97116: (Forest Grove, Gales Creek., Glenwood): 70.1%

97144 (Timber): 70.9% 

97109 (Buxton): 49.3%

97125 (Hayward, Manning): 43.1%

97113 (Cornelius, Roy): 74%

97133 (North Plains, Mountaindale): 82.7%.

More coronavirus data for Oregon and local regions can be found online.

Statewide, 13.2% of the population has received a booster shot. 

For more information on finding a vaccine or other questions, visit Washington County’s vaccine information website

This story will be updated when news of the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup and Governor Kate Brown’s approval are issued. 

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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