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Gov. Brown receives COVID-19 booster shot as state rolls out new booster options

The governor received a Moderna booster after initially receiving a Johnson & Johnson shot earlier this year.

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown received a Moderna COVID-19 booster shot Tuesday at a clinic in Salem. Gov. Brown initially received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine last spring. 

The CDC officially recommended on Oct. 21 booster shots for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as well as boosters for many people who received mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The CDC said it would take a hands-off approach and allow people to select a booster shot of their choice. 

"I thought it was really important that I have the full protection. I was really grateful to be one of the millions of Americans who did the Johnson & Johnson one-and-done, and in talking with my medical provider, my doctor, wanted to try this alternative strategy," the governor said, explaining her mix-and-match approach.

Gov. Brown and her doctor encouraged people who think they may be eligible for COVID-19 booster shots to discuss it with their medical provider. Booster shots are also available at most pharmacies, though many pharmacies are showing appointments booked up weeks in advance. OHSU has started offering boosters at its drive-thru site at the Portland Expo Center by appointment. 

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"These boosters extend protection against severe disease. I and my colleagues strongly encourage you to get one when eligible," said Dr. Ralph Yates, chief medical officer at Salem Health. 

Gov. Brown said the state likely would not open any mass vaccination sites for booster shots, citing the lack of available health care workers as they deal with COVID patients, as well as pharmacies that are better-prepared to offer vaccines than they were last spring.

"Unlike at the outset of the vaccination efforts, the ability to access a booster is not an issue. Every Oregonian who is eligible and wants to get a booster can get one," Gov. Brown said. 

The governor stressed that getting vaccinated is important to protect yourself and people around you who might be facing other health issues. 

"Vaccinations and boosters are one of the only ways out of this pandemic," Gov. Brown said. 

RELATED: Yes, most Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recipients are now eligible for a booster shot

Dr. Yates said 99.3% of the medical staff at Salem Health are fully vaccinated. He said he got a booster shot two weeks ago. 

Gov. Brown also answered questions about the state's mask mandate. She suggested it will stay in place for a while. 

"We're heading into winter, it's quite cold and windy and wet outside, and people tend to take their activities indoors," Gov. Brown said. "We know when people get indoors in close contact with one another, that's a likely scenario for COVID to spread."