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OHA: 632,000 Oregonians may soon be eligible for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson booster shots

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SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Thursday recommended booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for persons who have already completed their vaccination series.

A booster is a vaccine dose that may be given to someone whose immune response from the primary vaccine series has waned over time.  

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for use to prevent COVID-19 for persons 18 years of age and older. The only approved booster authorized for use for some groups is for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, known as Comirnaty. 

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) concluded its two days of meetings today. The ACIP recommended the use of booster doses for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for some persons 18 and older and booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for persons 18 years and older.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend the use of boosters six months after a Moderna primary vaccination series and two months after a J and J vaccination series for eligible populations as outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization.

The guidance will allow Moderna’s booster dose to be given six months after completing the original series for those 65 years and older and some groups of persons 18 years and older with certain health conditions and occupations, and as soon as two months for all persons 18 years and older who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

The committee also considered heterologous doses or a “mix and match” approach to booster doses. This would mean people eligible to receive the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster dose could use any COVID-19 vaccine as their booster dose. This would allow people to get a booster dose at any location that provides COVID-19 vaccines.

  • The committee’s final vote did not formally endorse the mix and match approach.
  • The CDC still needs to issue official recommendations and update their clinical considerations after review of the committee’s recommendations.
  • This topic will be reviewed more closely in the Western States Scientific Safety Review Group as well.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, including Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada, will assess the recommendations next. The group meets later today, and it should make its recommendation in one to two days. OHA would then issue guidance regarding the administration of booster shots in Oregon.  

At that point, eligible Oregonians could seek booster shots through their health care provider or local pharmacy.  

"Oregonians can have confidence in the rigorous scientific review undertaken by the panels of scientists, medical experts and health officials to assess the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, Medical Director, Communicable Diseases and Immunizations. “Following this authorization, it may still take a little time for Oregonians eligible to get a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster to schedule their shots. Those who become eligible will get one, and we appreciate everyone's patience. The good news is, all vaccines continue to protect vaccinated Oregonians from COVID-19."

Eligible residents in long-term care facilities, including seniors, should receive their boosters through vaccination plans developed by their homes and pharmacies. State officials are also planning ways to reach home-bound seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. 

Vaccines will continue being made available to Oregonians through their health care provider or local pharmacy. OHA has enrolled hundreds of vaccine providers in the state, and these sites are already vaccinating adults. We anticipate these sites will provide widespread access to booster doses so eligible persons who previously received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as those not yet vaccinated.

"Those most at risk, however, remain persons who have not yet received a primary series of COVID-19 vaccines," said Cieslak. “We strongly encourage everyone eligible to take advantage of this preventive measure."

OHA estimates that more than 632,000 adult Oregonians could soon be eligible to receive the added benefit provided by boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.  

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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