COVID-19 Booster Doses and Third Doses

A visual representation of the written information in the "Who needs a third dose?" and "Who needs a booster dose?" sections of this article.

Vaccination is the single most critical and powerful public health intervention in history. More lives have been saved and more harm reduced through vaccination than anything else we have ever done. Please help protect our community by sharing this information. If you know someone ages 12 and up who has not been vaccinated, please encourage them to get vaccinated now. If you know someone who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago, please encourage them to get a booster dose. Our entire county is considered a high risk setting for anyone who is not isolated at home because of high transmission rates.

Visit our Free COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Events at the Malheur County Fairgrounds on Tuesdays (9a-4p) and Thursdays (11a-4p) through the month of October. Please share the updated flyer here.

More ways to find a vaccine

Who needs a third dose?

A third dose is for people who are immunocompromised and may not have built up adequate protective immunity with their first series of mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccines. Immunocompromised people can receive their third dose at least 28 days after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Currently, there is no additional dose authorized for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Who needs a booster dose?

A booster dose is strongly recommended for people whose immunity may be fading six months after completing their second Pfizer vaccination and are in one of these groups: People 65 years and older; people ages 50-64 with underlying medical conditions; and people ages 18-64, who either have underlying conditions or who are at risk of increased exposure or transmission because of where they work or live (including Malheur County).

COVID-19 Cases in Malheur County: Situation Update

To date, Malheur County has recorded 5,379 COVID-19 positive cases and 73 deaths. 198 cases were reported for last week, a continuation of the same rate over the previous two weeks. While case counts are decreasing in some parts of the state, it’s too soon to know if we have reached our peak in this current wave of outbreaks yet. The table above shows the number of weekly cases over the past two months. Comparatively, we never had a week with over 200 cases prior to six weeks ago. Now we’ve had four weeks out of the last six with over 200 cases. About 5% of cases in Oregon require hospitalization. Malheur has averaged 5-7% of cases hospitalized in the previous month and with so many newly reported cases, we will likely see more hospitalizations and death in the next few weeks.

Find updates on weekly case counts, test positivity, and trends on our MALHEUR COUNTY COVID-19 CASES AND DATA page.

If you have symptoms or have been around someone who tested positive or has COVID-19 like symptoms, please get tested. Get a test at one of our free drive-through testing and vaccine events at the Fairgrounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays through October or call your healthcare provider or pharmacy. Updated flyers on the fairgrounds events here. More on COVID-19 Testing in Oregon here.

Please help us protect our healthcare system, save lives, and prevent the many hardships on individuals, schools, and businesses by staying home if you are sick, getting tested if exposed, wearing a mask in public, and avoiding gatherings. The most effective way to protect yourself and those around you is to be vaccinated.

Second weekday testing and vaccination clinic added

Angela chose to get a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine because “It is required for my job. I give service to migrant families – much of it face-to-face – this makes me feel like I can give better service, and I’m not scared of giving someone the Covid.”

Vaccinations and testing are available Tuesdays at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St., Ontario, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, COVID-19 tests will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning Oct. 14, vaccinations and testing will be available on Thursdays through October from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events will all be held at the fairgrounds.

All three vaccines will be available, with third doses of Pfizer and Moderna available for those who qualify, and booster doses of Pfizer for those who qualify. For more information on third doses and booster doses, the Oregon Health Authority has information here.

Testing and vaccination Tuesdays and Thursdays at Malheur County Fairgrounds

Free COVID-19 testing and vaccination is available every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through October, at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St. in Ontario.

Members of the Malheur County Incident Command System, the Oregon Health Authority, as well as volunteers from local nonprofits, will be on hand to provide the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, including third doses and booster doses, to those who qualify.

COVID-19 and ethnicity

COVID-19 affects certain racial and ethnic groups more severely than it does others, and because of that disparity, the state has asked local Health Departments to create a plan to address vaccination of various racial and ethnic groups which are more at risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Malheur County’s plan was approved by the state in August, and between late August and late September, MCHD tracked the number of people who self-identify as different ethnicities to see how we’re doing with vaccinating those groups against COVID-19. Malheur County was grouped with Harney, Lake and Klamath counties for population and vaccination numbers, so the graph below shows percentages from all four counties combined. The blue bars show vaccination numbers as of Aug. 31, 2021, and the orange show vaccination numbers as of Sept. 29, 2021. The Health Department and our non-profit partners are making progress to address the vaccination gaps. If you have suggestions on how we might do that, please let us know by calling 541-889-7279 or commenting on this post. The goal is to have 80 percent of our population vaccinated, so we can put an end to this pandemic, and we need your help! Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated – your provider will be able to answer any questions you have about the vaccines; tell your family, friends and neighbors about the various vaccination events taking place around the county, suggest to event organizers that they add vaccination to their event, or even volunteer at one of the county’s vaccination events. As they say, it takes a village, and we are looking to our village to help us increase the numbers on this graph.

County crosses COVID-19 threshold

This week, Malheur County saw its 5,000th case of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. With fewer than 10,000 eligible county residents fully vaccinated, case numbers will continue to increase. Since March of 2020, 69 Malheur County residents have died with COVID-19, and yesterday 14 Malheur County residents were reported hospitalized with COVID-19.

Free drive-up testing and vaccinations are available throughout October at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St., in Ontario Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Third doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are available for people who are immunocompromised, and booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be available to people whose last dose of the Pfizer vaccine was six months ago or more, and who meet the following criteria:

Those who should receive a booster dose of Pfizer:

  • Adults age 65 and older and those living in long-term care facilities
  • Adults age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions or who are at increased risk of social inequities

Those who may receive a booster dose:

Adults age 18 through 64 years:

  • with underlying medical conditions, or
  • who are at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure or transmission because of where they work or live.

Proof of qualification is not needed.

Testing and vaccines continue until 4 today

COVID-19 rapid tests and vaccines are available at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St., in Ontario today (Tuesday) until 4 p.m., and every Tuesday through October. The Malheur County Incident Command System team is operating the event, with the assistance of community volunteers, and the Oregon Health Authority is providing the vaccinations.