Everyone age 18 and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. Today, the Oregon Health Authority authorized pharmacies, health clinics and other vaccine providers in the state to begin administering boosters. The state’s orders follow actions by the federal government and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Panel to authorize expanded booster eligibility.
“Every adult who wants a booster can now get one and that is quite simply the extra layer of protection that we need,” said Rachael Banks, Public Health Director, Oregon Health Authority.
Booster doses help people maintain strong immunity to disease longer. The first vaccine series builds up the immune system to make the antibodies needed to fight the disease. Over time, the immune response weakens. A booster dose stimulates the initial response and tends to result in higher antibody levels that help people maintain their immunity longer.
While booster doses are available to everyone age 18 and older, they are strongly recommended for people older than 50, people age 18 and older who live in long-term care facilities and anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccinated people are eligible for a booster 6 months after they completed their initial series if they received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 2 months after they received their Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
And if you have not yet chosen to get vaccinated against COVID-19, now is the time.
“We know that unvaccinated people remain at much higher risk of COVID-19 than those who have received the vaccine,” said Banks. “We also know that unvaccinated people are more likely to get infected with the virus, and more likely to spread the virus to others. To control the pandemic, we have been urging vaccination for everyone who is eligible – and now that’s everyone 5 years and older.”
Booster and primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are widely available, but you may need to wait. Please be patient. Vaccine providers are working tirelessly to meet the need, as they have done throughout the pandemic. Use the vaccine locator map to find a vaccine provider near you and schedule an appointment. Or you can call 211 or (866) 698-6155 for information and help in any language. Proof of eligibility is not required, though you may be asked to confirm the date of your last vaccination.
“The more people that choose to get vaccinated, the safer our communities will be for all of us,” said Banks. “This review and subsequent approval of booster doses helps to loosen COVID-19’s grip on our communities and it will ultimately save more lives.”