SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown held a press briefing on Tuesday, pledging to ensure that everyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster will get one after it received recommendations from the CDC and a regional scientific review group last week, while asking for patience.
"Everyone who is eligible for a booster will get one. For those who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, I ask for your patience as we wait for further data and guidance from the federal government," Governor Brown said. "For those who received the Pfizer vaccine but are not yet eligible for a booster, please know that you are still well protected from COVID-19. Boosters offer an extra layer of protection — and that is important for individuals at higher risk of exposure or illness — but you are still fully vaccinated with the two doses."
Oregon Health Authority public health director Rachael Banks said that supply of the Pfizer vaccine is strong — there are roughly 300,000 Oregonians currently eligible for the Pfizer booster, Banks said, and there are about 400,000 doses spread throughout the state.
After the cascade of Pfizer booster approvals from the FDA, CDC, and the Western States Scientific Safety Workgroup, a fairly wide cross-section of Oregonians became eligible. Boosters are particularly recommended for those who are 65 and older, those living in long-term care facilities, and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions.
Pfizer boosters are also available to those who are 18 and older with underlying medical conditions or those who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure due to their work settings, including healthcare workers, teachers, and grocery workers.
In all cases, eligibility is restricted to those who received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago.
Statewide, Oregon has shown signs that it is emerging from the Delta variant-fueled surge that overburdened hospitals and repeatedly broke records set during previous peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Case counts and new hospitalizations have been falling for several weeks, though fatalities from the virus continue to mount and many hospitals remain at the very limits of their capacity.
"The good news is that, while we still have a long way to go, it appears things are slowly getting better," said Governor Brown. "And every day there is renewed hope as we see more people getting vaccinated, progress on vaccines for our 5-11 year olds, and now, the beginning of boosters for some of our most vulnerable."
Josephine County signaled on Monday that Pfizer boosters are now available, Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls said that it had appointments available, and public health officials in Jackson County said Tuesday that a new vaccination clinic at the Expo now has the go-ahead to offer boosters.