OHA Ready for Expected Federal Green Light of Second Booster Shot

Oregon has plenty of COVID-19 vaccine supply to meet increased demand that may occur after federal agencies this week authorized second booster doses for people older than 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals, health officials say.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today updated and distributed its standing immunization protocols for vaccine providers after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Tuesday approved and recommended allowing older and immunocompromised persons to get another booster.

According to the protocols, individuals in these groups who received an initial booster dose at least four months ago can now get a second booster dose of the two available mRNA vaccines – made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19. Adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago also can now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

CDC and FDA say booster doses of the mRNA vaccines have been shown to increase immune response among individuals who completed primary doses of the shots as well as prevent severe disease among those infected with the virus. They also found no safety concerns linked with the second boosters.

OHA officials say there’s more than enough vaccine supply in Oregon to accommodate the new groups eligible for second boosters. About 270,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna are distributed throughout the state, which should easily meet any surge in demand. And new demand should help providers use up some of their excess vaccine stocks.

In addition, Oregon has plenty of allocation from CDC planned to meet increased demand as well, though vaccine orders aren’t expected to increase much given how much vaccine is already available at provider offices.

“I’m not worried about vaccine supply right now, even if we see a rush for second boosters following this week’s news,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations in OHA’s Public Health Division. “Existing supply is already strong, and the CDC is ready to send more doses if we need them.”

OHA’s vaccine data dashboards show that of the roughly 1.6 million people older than 50 in Oregon, about 893,000, or 56%, got their initial booster. Using that same proportion to estimate those who will seek an additional booster, OHA anticipates that 500,000 second boosters may be given in Oregon over about the next four to six months.

Vaccines are available to people in Oregon through health care providers, local pharmacies and high-volume vaccination and testing sites.

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