Pfizer Booster Shots Approved in Oregon for 65 and Older

The use of a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as a booster shot has been approved in Oregon for those 65 and older and adults with an increased risk of severe illness.

The determination was announced Friday after a panel of scientists and medical experts working with the states of Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada reviewed the data and recommendations by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup recommended that people 65 and older, those living in a care home and people age 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster of the Pfizer vaccine six months after receiving their second dose.

The group also recommended the booster for those who are at higher risk of Covid-19 exposure and transmission due to being employed in an occupational or institutional setting.

In a statement, Governor Kate Brown described the booster shots as an “additional layer of protection” against new variants of the coronavirus that continue to emerge.

“Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and vaccination continues to be our path out of this pandemic,” Brown said. “Everyone eligible who wants a booster will get one. I’m committed to ensuring our most vulnerable Oregonians are protected from Covid-19, including those who are at higher risk due to systemic health and social inequities.”

On Wednesday, the FDA authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 65 and older and those that are at higher risk for Covid-19, and the CDC echoed that decision on Thursday while also recommending eligibility for people at higher risk due to occupational or institutional setting.

The Western States Workgroup reviewed and affirmed the federal decisions in meetings Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Because unvaccinated individuals remain at much higher risk of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals, the Workgroup reiterated that its members strongly support vaccination against Covid-19 for everyone 12 years of age and older.

Because only Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have been authorized for booster doses at this point, the medical community is urging the FDA and CDC to find solutions for vulnerable individuals who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shot.

Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s Covid-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The Workgroup, made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to Covid-19 vaccines.

It will continue to evaluate other Covid-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.

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