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Booster shots now lead way for COVID vaccinations in Oregon

Pfizer vaccine boosters are being administered at quadruple the rate of first doses and seniors are the largest group getting them.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A vaccination clinic administered 180 booster shots to seniors on Portland's South Waterfront on Wednesday.

At Mirabella Tower, more than 300 seniors live in independent and assisted living. A pop-up vaccination clinic was set up on the 27th floor in the senior living center's restaurant.

“I feel very fortunate to be here and to be taken care of and feel very safe, be kept up to date on what I need to do for myself,” said 88-year-old Dot Lukins.

The seniors at Mirabella Tower are an informed group. Every single one of them is fully vaccinated.

“The seniors have been really focusing on the news and sending us articles and paying attention to the science and everything behind the vaccines, and they were really chomping at the bit to get them done,” said Stephanie Cook, Health Care administrator at Mirabella Portland.

Mirabella Portland seniors aren't alone in being proactive about getting their boosters.

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On Tuesday, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) totals for COVID vaccinations in Oregon showed 722 people received their first dose, and 825 got a second dose, while 3,969 people got a booster dose or third dose.

To qualify for the booster you need to be 65 years of age or older, or be 18 or older with underlying medical conditions, living in a long-term care facility, or living or working in high-risk settings. A booster should be administered at least six months after receiving your second dose. You must also have had the Pfizer vaccine, to begin with.

Two of the pharmacists administering boosters on Wednesday were students of Mirabella resident John Block, a retired professor from Oregon State University's College of Pharmacy.

"It felt good (to see them) and they didn't say ‘Oh no that biochemistry professor is here,'" Block said with a laugh.

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When it comes to COVID, Block said, “Get the vaccine, just like measles and mumps and chickenpox. I see no difference. It’s the only way you can stop the spread of it.”

Again, that is advice every single person in the senior living center has followed. Including 90-year-old Barbara Bullier.

“It was very important to me and I was happy that Mirabella did such a nice job of taking care of all of us and getting us organized so that all we had to do was come upstairs and put our arm out.”