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HealthWatch: new COVID-19 booster vaccine ready for states' approvals

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COVID-19 booster shot vaccine in vial 2022.jpg

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon Health Authority says updated COVID-19 booster shot vaccine could be available to Oregon as early as next week.

Federal authorities authorized new updated bivalent COVID-19 booster shots for people 12 and older Thursday.  Oregon's advisory council was to meet afterward.  Science experts comprising the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which includes Oregon, California, Nevada and Washington, must review and recommend the bivalent boosters before they can be used in Oregon.

Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed a recommendation by its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, approving Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters for usage.

The recommendation follows U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Wednesday Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the new mRNA bivalent boosters, which add an Omicron BA.4/5 spike protein component to current vaccine composition.  Oregon Health Authority (OHA) says, "Both boosters are designed to prevent severe illness and hospitalization from a broader range of viral strains, including the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants that account for the overwhelming majority of recent COVID-19 infections in Oregon and nationally."

OHA says the updated boosters are single doses administered two months after an initial two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two months after a monovalent booster of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.  It says the updated boosters can be used regardless of which vaccine series a person received.

OHA says the Moderna bivalent booster is authorized only for people at least 18 years old, and the Pfizer booster can be given to people at least 12 years old.

It says the older monovalent vaccines are no longer authorized for booster doses.

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