The FDA authorized the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters for younger age groups this week, with the Pfizer doses authorized for children 5-11, and the Moderna doses for 6-17. After meeting last night, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also approved the boosters, which means bivalent vaccines are now available in Oregon for those under 12 who were previously ineligible for the shots. This latest round of boosters were developed to target not only the original COVID-19 strain but also the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
So far, around 10 percent of eligible Oregonians have received the updated bivalent booster, representing some 259,000 people. More than 85 percent of adult Oregonians have had at least one vaccine dose against COVID. According to the Oregon Health Authority, there are some 343,000 people between the ages of 5 and 11 in the state who are now newly eligible for the booster, which targets the Omicron variant.
The new bivalent shots are recommended for anyone over 5 years old who is at least two months past a COVID-19 infection, and who has already completed their primary vaccination series. The Oregon Health Authority warns that COVID is still circulating in the community, and though test positivity has declined to 6.8 percent statewide, this is considered a considerable undercount given the number of at home tests being used to diagnose the illness and not reported.
Vaccines remain extremely effective at keeping people with COVID from severe illness that requires a hospital stay. There are currently 248 people who have tested positive for COVID hospitalized statewide, the OHA said Thursday, a number that has consistently fallen since a peak of 464 in mid-July. Twenty-nine of those patients are in intensive care beds, as of October 12.
"Today, all people 5+ are recommended to receive an age-appropriate bivalent mRNA booster dose at least two months after finishing a primary series or prior monovalent booster dose. Our data show that there are nearly 343,000 people between the ages of 5-11 in Oregon."— OR Health Authority (@OHAOregon) October 13, 2022
Those interested in getting a bivalent booster should check with their local pediatrician, pharmacy, doctor’s office, or check getvaccinated.oregon.gov for a vaccine provider near you.
The state is planning to ramp down its high-volume vaccine clinics, starting this month, as federal funding has shifted away from such efforts.