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Oregonians 65 or old urged to get second COVID vaccine

Preliminary research suggests good staying power for the first dose of the updated vaccine, but state and federal officials recommend seniors play it safe in light of their increased vulnerability
March 5, 2024

Oregon health officials are urging people who are 65 or older to get a second dose of this year’s updated COVID-19 vaccine if at least four months have passed since the first.

The recommendation echoes a similar one issued recently by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control after a federal advisory committee debated whether a second shot should be urged for seniors or just allowed. 

Preliminary studies indicate the vaccine's protective effects last at least six months without significant waning, according to the Associated Press. But the state noted in an announcement that older people tend to be more vulnerable to the virus. Already, second doses of the updated vaccine were available to people 6 months and older who are at least moderately immunocompromised.

“Vaccine-induced immunity can wane over time, but a second dose restores that protection, which can help keep people in this particularly vulnerable group from being hospitalized or even dying,” Paul Cieslak of the state Public Health Division said in a statement. “We urge everyone 65 and older to talk to their health care or vaccine provider about getting a second COVID-19 vaccine dose.”

Between September and mid-January the number of covid-related deaths in Oregon quietly surged to about 20 per week, according to state data. That was roughly double the weekly death rate between April and August. 

Reported COVID fatalities in the second half of January have dropped, however.

State officials recommend that people who’ve not yet gotten the updated 2023-2014 vaccine get it from a provider.

“While the state has seen a steady decline in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and percentage of positive COVID-19 tests since late December, the virus is still circulating briskly in Oregon communities,” according to the state’s announcement.

The state recommends people check with their insurer about coverage. If they don’t have insurance or coverage, they can search for COVID-19 vaccines using the, and narrow their search to locations in the Bridge Access Program. The program provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to adults without insurance.