OHA provides update on COVID-19 and expansion of vaccines for youngest children

Oregon Health Authority held its monthly media availability today, providing an update on COVID-19 in Oregon and the status of state and federal reviews taking place through this weekend for vaccines for children under 5 years of age.

Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA, highlighted the latest data trends, showing that hospitalizations for COVID-19-positive patients in Oregon have hit the peak projected by current modeling and that Oregon still continues to have a high level of community spread.

Sidelinger also provided an update on the next steps in federal and state reviews for authorizing Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years of age and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years of age. He noted that in Oregon, children under 4 were the most hospitalized age group during last winter’s Omicron wave.

Sidelinger was joined by Dawn Nolt, M.D., professor of pediatrics (infectious diseases) in the OHSU School of Medicine, who explained vaccine safety and what Emergency Use Authorization means for this age group, including reduced risk of severe disease.  

Nolt emphasized that — as a pediatrician, an infectious disease doctor and parent — her key advice is that children get vaccinated as soon as they can. “Vaccines protect small children, but also protect entire family units, as children can get and spread the coronavirus.”

Here are the talking points from today’s media availability. You can also watch it here.