PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A new COVID-19 booster shot designed to target the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants is now available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all teenagers and adults get it.
In its latest forecast, Oregon Health & Science University said the booster will likely make a difference in lowering the number of COVID-related hospitalizations throughout the fall and winter.
However, many people in Oregon and Southwest Washington have been wondering when and how they can get the latest vaccine.
KOIN 6 News contacted local hospitals and state health officials to inquire about when they’d be offering the boosters.
Oregon Health Authority
The Oregon Health Authority is operating vaccine clinics throughout the state, including in Aloha, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Happy Valley, Salem, The Dalles, Wood Village and Woodburn.
The newest booster is called the bivalent booster and it is available at all the OHA vaccine clinics for anyone interested in receiving it.
For anyone who doesn’t live near one of the OHA vaccine clinics, the state recommends using the Get Vaccinated Oregon tool to find a convenient vaccine site.
“We encourage everyone to be patient as doses continue to be delivered around the state,” Oregon Health Authority said.
It also recommended everyone 6 months and older get their annual flu shot. The flu shot can be administered at the same time as a COVID-19 booster. When scheduling an appointment, people should check to see if their provider has both vaccines.
Washington State Department of Health
The Washington State Department of Health announced Sept. 3 that the omicron COVID-19 vaccine boosters were approved for people.
WSDH explained that the bivalent vaccines combine Pfizer and Moderna’s original vaccine compositions with BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to provide additional protection.
People august 12-17 can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster if it’s been at least two months since the last dose of their primary vaccine series.
Anyone 18 and older can receive either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster as long as it’s been at least two months since their most recent dose.
Children between the ages of 5 and 11 who completed their primary Pfizer vaccine series should continue to receive the company’s original monovalent booster at least 5 months after their most recent dose.
Children ages 6 months to 4 years are not authorized for any COVID-19 booster doses.
Washington state has a vaccine locator tool where people can enter their zip code to find a clinic near them.
Salem Health said it has received more than 500 of the new COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines. The booster will be available at Salem Health Medical Clinic primary and urgent care locations.
Patients should visit www.salemhealth.org/vaccine to find available appointments or they can schedule a vaccine appointment through MyChart.
Starting Wednesday, several OHSU Health pharmacies in the Portland area are giving flu, bivalent COVID booster and original COVID vaccinations by appointment only, the hospital said.
The public is invited to book appointments through OHSU’s vaccine scheduling website.
As the bivalent COVID boosters become more widely available, OHSU hopes to start offering its patients the shots during their regularly scheduled, in-person appointments.
Currently, OHSU is now primarily offering COVID vaccines from Pfizer. However, in order to serve some members of the public who prefer protein-based vaccines, OHSU’s Physicians Pavilion pharmacy on Marquam Hill in Southwest Portland also offers Novavax’s COVID vaccine.
Established Legacy Health patients can receive COVID-19 boosters through their primary care provider by making appointments through their MyHealth portal or by calling their provider’s office. The booster vaccines are available now.
Kaiser Permanente says it has been offering the bivalent booster to people ages 65 and older or immunocompromised people since Sept. 9.
On Monday, it will open appointments to all eligible people 12 and older. Appointments can be made online.
Bivalent boosters are available at Providence Portland and Providence St. Vincent. Anyone interested in receiving a vaccine should contact their physician’s office or local pharmacy.
Providence is also partnering with community organizations to offer the updated booster. Providence is posting updates on its website for people looking for a vaccination at a community clinic. The list of sites is updated weekly.
KOIN 6 News contacted PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver to ask if it is offering the bivalent booster, but did not receive a response before deadline.