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Oregonians could start getting bivalent COVID boosters early next week

A pharmacist injects a patient with a booster dosage of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Lawrence, Mass., on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.  U.S. regulators have authorized updated COVID-19 boosters, the first to directly target today's most common omicron strain. The move on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, by the Food and Drug Administration tweaks the recipe of shots made by Pfizer and rival Moderna that already have saved millions of lives.
Charles Krupa
/
AP
A pharmacist injects a patient with a booster dosage of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Lawrence, Mass., on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. U.S. regulators have authorized updated COVID-19 boosters, the first to directly target today's most common omicron strain. The move on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, by the Food and Drug Administration tweaks the recipe of shots made by Pfizer and rival Moderna that already have saved millions of lives.

Federal health authorities have approved new "bivalent" COVID-19 boosters for people 12 and older. In Oregon, the boosters still have to be approved by the Western States Workgroup and Governor Kate Brown, which could happen any day.

The state has pre-ordered more than 77,000 doses that could be available early next week.

“With fall and winter approaching with circulation of COVID-19 anticipated to increase, when most of us will spend more time indoors, the availability of safe and effective vaccine boosters offers us strong protection against the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including severe illness, hospitalizations and death,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “Should the Western workgroup endorse the federal recommendations — a decision we expect based on the safety and efficacy of the updated boosters — OHA will make the boosters available to everyone eligible in Oregon so they can get the updated booster as soon as they’re able.”

The new boosters target both the original strain of the coronavirus and two omicron subvariants. Sidelinger said they also help simplify the current recommendations for boosters.

The Moderna bivalent booster is for people 18 and over, and the Pfizer booster is for people 12 and up. Both should be administered at least 2 months after a person’s last vaccine dose or booster.

The CDC advisory committee is no longer recommending the old, “monovalent” boosters.

Once the new vaccines are fully approved, the Oregon Health Authority will open three new high-volume sites to distribute them.

Existing clinics will have expanded hours to meet the demand. OHA estimates more than 2.7 million Oregonians are eligible to receive a COVID-19 bivalent booster.

Pending approval, Oregon will receive additional doses of the Pfizer booster on Sept. 8, then in weekly allocations. Extra Moderna boosters will start arriving on Sept. 12, then will come in biweekly after that.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Jeff Thompson