Oregonians could get the newly approved bivalent COVID boosters as early as next week, the Oregon Health Authority has said. The new boosters were approved by the FDA on Wednesday for both Moderna and Pfizer, both of which are aimed at the original COVID strain and the new BA.5 and BA.4 omicron variants that have become dominant in the country. Following the CDC endorsement, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which includes Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada, met last night to review the boosters and is expected to issue a recommendation. The new Moderna booster will be available for those age 18 and older, while the Pfizer version can be used on those 12 and older.
Local health care providers, Tribal and local public health partners, and pharmacies in Oregon have placed preorders for the boosters, and deliveries have already started to arrive, according to the OHA. Further shipments are expected after the Labor Day weekend. Some 75,500 doses have been approved for Oregon thus far.
“With fall and winter approaching with circulation of COVID-19 anticipated to increase, when most of us will spend more time indoors, the availability of safe and effective vaccine boosters offers us strong protection against the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including severe illness, hospitalizations and death,” OHA’s state epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said in a press release. “Should the Western workgroup endorse the federal recommendations—a decision we expect based on the safety and efficacy of the updated boosters—OHA will make the boosters available to everyone eligible in Oregon so they can get the updated booster as soon as they’re able.”
More than 2.7 million Oregonians are currently eligible to receive the new bivalent booster, which can only be administered at least two months after a primary or monovalent booster vaccination. With the arrival of the new shots, the FDA has also removed its authorization for the original, monovalent boosters for those 12 and older.