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Oregonians age 50 and up can now receive second COVID boosters

The FDA and CDC authorized second COVID boosters earlier this week for older Americans who are at least four months past their first booster shot.

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority has updated its protocols to allow older or immunocompromised people to receive a second COVID-19 vaccine booster shot if it's been at least four months since their first booster.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized second booster doses of mRNA vaccines — the ones made by Pfizer and Moderna — for Americans ages 50 and up on Monday, as well as younger people with weakened immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently recommended second boosters as an option, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup followed suit on Tuesday, clearing the way for OHA to update its protocols.

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The Washington State Department of Health also announced the start of second-round boosters for the state on Wednesday.

Adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for both their primary course and a booster dose are also now eligible to receive an mRNA vaccine as a second booster, according to a press release from OHA.

Oregon has about 270,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on hand, OHA said, which should be enough to keep up with any new demand generated by the second booster authorization.

RELATED: Yes, a second COVID-19 booster shot has been authorized for people 50 and older

"I’m not worried about vaccine supply right now, even if we see a rush for second boosters following this week’s news," Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations in OHA’s Public Health Division, said in a statement. "Existing supply is already strong, and the CDC is ready to send more doses if we need them."

Oregon Health Authority's vaccination dashboard shows 67.6% of Oregonians have completed their primary vaccine series, although only 36.7% have received a first booster dose. The first booster dose rate among Oregonians over 50 is higher at about 56%, OHA said.

OHA has closed some of the mass vaccination sites that it operated during the omicron wave, but several remain open throughout the state, including two in the Portland metro area. 

A Safeway and Albertsons spokesperson said the chain's Oregon and Washington pharmacies could begin administering second booster doses "by this afternoon" if they have vaccine supplies in stock. Walgreens also announced that it has begun offering second boosters.

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