Vaccines coming to Nyssa

The Malheur County Health Department, in cooperation with the Nyssa Senior Citizens, will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Nyssa Senior Center, 316 Good Ave., beginning at 11:30 Tuesday, May 17. The clinic will follow the Center’s Bingo activity.

With second boosters now recommended for people over 50, as well as people over 16 who are immunocompromised, as well as two new subvariants taking over the northeastern United States, now is a great time to get a second booster.

Walk in vaccine clinics on Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, the Malheur County Health Department is hosting a walk-in vaccine clinic, where you’ll be able to receive first or second booster doses of any brand of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as regular doses, if desired.

Additionally, most of the adult vaccines will be available, as are all of the childhood vaccines.

Second booster doses are now available for:

  • People who are over 18 and received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for their primary and booster doses may receive either Pfizer or Moderna as a second booster.
  • People age 50 and older may receive either a Pfizer or Moderna booster.
  • Immunocompromised people age 12-17 may receive a Pfizer booster.
  • Immunocompromised people age 18 and older may receive either a Pfizer or a Moderna booster.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters continue to offer protection against severe illness and death, and they reduce a person’s risk of becoming ill with COVID-19.

Get your second booster on Wednesday

All brands and all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including boosters and second boosters are available for anyone eligible at the Malheur County Health Department on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is needed. The Health Department is at 1108 SW 4th St. in Ontario, Ore., across the street from the TVCC baseball field.

CDC updates booster guidance for certain people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement yesterday updating its COVID-19 vaccination guidelines to include a second booster dose for some adults, as well as for immunocompromised people age 12 and older.

The following second booster doses can be received at least four months after receiving any previous booster dose. Read on for details. 

  • People age 50 and older may receive either a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose. 
  • Immunocompromised people ages 12-17 may receive a Pfizer booster dose. 
  • Immunocompromised people age 18 and older may receive either a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose. 
  • Anyone age 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their primary and booster doses may receive either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as an additional booster.

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.

Vaccine, booster and travel guidance for people vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of the United States

For many who travel to and from the United States, whether they are seasonal migrant workers or frequent business flyers, entering the country isn’t as straight forward as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Homeland Security has issued vaccination requirements for these groups of people* to enter the U.S., whether they enter by plane, boat or across a land border.

This requirement has posed particular difficulties for migrant agriculture workers who must be vaccinated for their first day on the job but don’t always know what the requirements are, according to Deisy Flores, community health worker and field navigator for the community-based organization Mano a Mano.

“They are often not informed of which vaccines will be accepted in the United States, so when they arrive here, many of them realize that the vaccine they got is not accepted, and they are asked to be vaccinated again with the U.S.-approved vaccines,” said Flores. In addition, vaccines are not as available in some countries, and workers are “surprised to see how fast and easy you can get a vaccine” in Oregon.

So what vaccines can someone receive elsewhere in order to enter the U.S., whether for work or pleasure?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accepts any vaccine received outside the U.S. that has been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, as well as one vaccine recently authorized by Canada’s drug regulator, Health Canada. These include:

  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)**
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Noravax/Covovax
  • Medicago/Covifenz (Canada)

**Single-dose vaccine (the others are two-dose vaccines)

To enter the United States, non-U.S. citizens and others must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of one of the above vaccines accepted by the CDC. A booster dose is not required for entry into the U.S.

Fully vaccinated means it’s been:

  • 14 days since your dose of an accepted single-dose primary vaccine
  • 14 days since your second dose of an accepted two-dose primary vaccine series
  • 14 days since you received two doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are not considered fully vaccinated and cannot enter the United States.

For anyone in the U.S. who initially received some vaccinations outside of the country, understanding what additional doses or boosters you are recommended to receive can be difficult. Check out this two-page infographic below for guidance.

Booster doses provide additional protection against COVID-19

As of February 10, 2022, more than 90 million people ages 12 years and older in the United States have received a COVID-19 booster dose. In Oregon, 59.3% of those eligible have received a booster dose. Only 42.5% of those eligible have received a booster dose in Malheur County, significantly lower than the state and national numbers.

Booster eligibility data for people ages 12 years and older are now available on COVID Data Tracker. See the data.

Booster doses, as well as first and second doses, are available at the Malheur County Health Department, 1108 SW 4th St., Ontario, every Wednesday from 8:30 to 4:30, free of charge, and with no appointment needed.

Booster doses are safe and effective, and work to help prevent severe illness and death in those infected with the the virus that causes COVID-19. If you love someone who is at high risk for severe illness or death, encourage them to seek out vaccination.

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Children as young as 12 authorized to receive Pfizer booster

On Jan. 6, the Western States Scientific Review Workgroup joined the CDC in recommending new guidelines for the Pfizer vaccine.

The new guidance, which takes effect in Oregon immediately, says:

  • Children ages 12-15 can now get a Pfizer booster at least five months after their second dose.
  • The wait time for a booster dose has been shortened to at least five months after receiving their initial series of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Immunocompromised children ages 5-11 can now receive a third primary series dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

It’s more important than ever to get boosted. It is vital in protecting you against severe cases of COVID-19, especially with the Omicron variant spreading so quickly. With just the primary series of vaccines, you’re only 35% protected from Omicron. With a booster, that protection level jumps up to 75%. Boosters take only two to three days to strengthen your immune response.

Where to get a COVID-19 booster

  • if you have a doctor, ask them first
  • visit the Malheur County Health Department any Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (no appointment needed)
  • Contact a local pharmacy to schedule an appointment
  • Contact a local medical clinic to schedule an appointment
  • Text ORCOVID to 898211 (English and Spanish) or email ORCOVID@211info.org
  • Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155, toll-free, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain Time) daily, including holidays
  • Or you can use the vaccine locator tool on OHA’s website, found here.

Drive through vaccine event is Saturday

The Malheur County ICS team will host a drive-through vaccine clinic for COVID-19 vaccinations Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ontario Municipal Airport firehouse, 3288 SW 4th Ave., in Ontario.

For the COVID-19 vaccine, all three brands are available, and all doses, including pediatric doses for children ages 5-11.

Every person who receives a COVID-19 vaccination will receive a gift card. Any vaccinated person who brings an unvaccinated person for their first dose will also receive a gift card. More information can be found here.