Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced she received the recommended Covid-19 booster as well as a flu shot on Tuesday — the same day a U.S. Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee recommended emergency use authorization to begin administering the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
Brown received the Johnson & Johnson jab in March 2021, saying she wanted to allay doubts and misinformation surrounding the only single-shot vaccine of the three currently approved for use in the U.S.
Studies have since shown it to be less effective than the two-shot series developed by Pfizer and Moderna, and health experts now recommend J&J recipients to receive a second dose of any of the three vaccines two months after their jab — a strategy known as “mix and match.”
In a statement Tuesday, Brown encouraged Oregonians eligible for the booster shot to discuss the option with their health care provider, calling vaccinations “our way out of this pandemic.”
She also touted flu shots. With cases of the seasonal flu virtually nonexistent last year due to widespread stay-at-home, mask and social distancing requirements, health officials fear this flu season could be particularly virulent this year due to less natural immunity in many areas.
“I am extremely grateful for the protection the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has given me,” Brown said. “All three of the vaccines are safe, and incredibly effective at protecting against hospitalization and death. And now, I am grateful to have received extra protection against both Covid-19 and the flu with the Moderna booster shot and the flu shot.”
As for Covid-19 shots being offered to younger children, the vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech is currently available to children and teens as young as 12.
But on Tuesday, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee declared in a unanimous vote that the benefits of administering the pediatric Pfizer vaccine outweighed the risks for children ages 5 to 11. The dose for this age group would be smaller (0.2 mL) than the 0.3 mL prescribed for adults.
In addition to preventing illnesses and hospitalizations among children, the committee noted that the vaccine could address other negative impacts of the disease on children in this age group, such as mitigating the impact on school closures and helping prevent possible long-term complications of Covid-19.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will now review the FDA’s evaluation and make recommendations regarding which children should receive the vaccine. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will review the committee’s recommendations and provide formal guidance on the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 5 and older.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will then assess the CDC guidance and available data, and provide their recommendations to the governors of Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada.
Oregon Health Authority would then establish state guidance and policy regarding the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to youth ages 5 to 11 in Oregon.
When Covid-19 vaccines become available to younger children, OHA anticipates that they will be widely available in clinics, community health centers, and pharmacies.
OHA is also working with state and local partners to make vaccines readily available at public and private schools, childcare facilities, community sites, and other locations easily accessible to families and education providers.
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