Western states workgroup recommendation makes way for updated COVID-19 boosters

The new updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters can be administered in Oregon now that the final step in the review and approval process has occurred, according to the state’s top health officer.

“With much appreciation to the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup for its ongoing commitment, I am pleased to say the group met last night and reaffirmed the authorization of the new updated bivalent booster by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority (OHA). “With that agreement, we can begin to offer the booster. We expect a full statement from the workgroup in the coming days.”

The updated boosters are a single dose that can be administered at least two months after completion of an initial two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two months after a monovalent booster of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“With recommendations from the FDA, CDC and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, Oregonians can rest assured that the latest Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots are safe and effective at fighting both infections and severe illness caused by the Omicron variant,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Vaccines continue to be a critical tool in protecting yourself and your family against COVID-19, and I encourage all eligible Oregonians to get their booster as soon as possible. While COVID-19 has receded in recent months, it remains the third leading cause of death in the United States, and vaccines are the most effective tool for preventing severe illness and death.”

The boosters can be administered regardless of which vaccine series a person received. The Moderna bivalent booster is authorized only for persons 18 years of age and older; the Pfizer booster can be given to persons at least 12 years or older.

The new boosters began arriving in Oregon on Thursday and continued with more shipments today. Additional shipments are anticipated next week.

OHA recommends everyone interested in receiving the new booster check with their provider first, to see when the booster is available, or check the OHA COVID-19 blog or the Get Vaccinated Oregon site for locations around the state.