Second COVID-19 boosters now available

Second COVID-19 boosters are now available for people over 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals after federal authorization this week.

According to newly-adopted protocols, individuals who meet the criteria and received an initial booster dose at least four months ago can now get a second booster dose of either of the 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 and Johnson’s vaccine at least four months ago can now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration experts 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.

Oregon Health Authority officials say there’s more than enough vaccine supply in Oregon to accommodate the groups eligible for second boosters, and new demand should help providers use up some of their excess vaccine stocks.

In Malheur County, 4,824 people, or 44.1% of those eligible, received their first booster dose, according to OHA data. Of those, 59.8%, or 3,523 are over 50, and eligible for their second booster four months after their first.

OHA strongly encourages everyone eligible in Oregon to get their primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccines followed by a booster shot. Those most at risk for the virus are people who have not yet received a primary series of the vaccines.

Vaccines are offered every Wednesday at the Malheur County Health Department, 1108 SW 4th St., in Ontario, Oregon, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on a walk-in basis. Call 541-889-7279 for more information.

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