Sep 19, 2023 - News

New COVID vaccine boosters coming to Oregon

Illustration of a syringe and glass medicine bottle with a post-it note attached that says "to do"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Updated COVID-19 vaccines should be available in Oregon this week.

Catch up quick: Last week, Oregon Health Authority officials joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recommending the newly FDA-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for everyone 6 months and older, or those who have not received a COVID vaccine within the last two months.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rising across Oregon and Multnomah County since July, county health data shows. New strains are driving the rapid spread.

  • These strains are less deadly than previous ones but contribute to the continued threat of long COVID.

Zoom in: As of Sept. 12 there were 216 COVID-positive patients in Oregon hospitals, according to state data — a 73% increase from just two months ago.

  • Hospitalization rates are an important metric for gauging viral spread, as at-home testing rises in popularity official COVID-19 case numbers are less reliable.

What to know: Portland residents should contact their health care provider or use the state's website to find a walk-in clinic or make a vaccine appointment.

  • CVS and Walgreens expect to have the updated shots available at all pharmacies as early as today.
  • OHA directed all vaccine providers to dispose of any leftover bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in storage to make room for the new, updated boosters.

Of note: Most people with private insurance and those enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid should be able to get the new shots at no-cost.

Yes, but: The federal government is no longer fully covering the vaccine, so experts say it could be tougher for people without insurance to get the shots for free, Axios' Maya Goldman and Jason Millman report.


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