Public health officials hopeful for booster shot amid surge in cases

SOUTHERN Ore. —Jackson County reported 242 new cases Tuesday.

“It’s pretty bleak right now,” said Jackson County Public Health Officer, Dr. Jim Shames.

Southern Oregon is seeing a record amount of COVID-19 hospitalizations, overloading the health care system. Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls says its number of hospitalized patients has doubled since Friday. Tuesday’s patient census is three times the number it was a week ago.

“We have this wave of exposure of cases that are coming, we’re told in three weeks we will hit the crest of that wave which will be brilliant so we can start seeing those numbers cycle back down,” said Valeree Lane with Klamath County Public Health.

In the midst of the increase of COVID-19 cases, Dr. Jim Shames is hoping a booster shot could be just around the corner.

“It’s really not a surprise that a vaccine might need multiple boosters to really give us long-lasting immunity,” said Dr. Shames.

While the vaccines continue to be effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, data suggests protection may decrease over time.

“Often you need at some point in time a reminder to your immune system to perk it up and give it the antibodies and produce the protection you need,” said Dr. Shames.

Here’s what we know, about the booster shot.

  • The recommendation is to get it 8 months after you’ve received your 2nd shot.
  • Public Health says health care workers, nursing home residents, and other seniors would likely be the first to get the booster.
  • Experts anticipate booster shots will eventually be needed for people who got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as well.

“We have the vaccine in the county and we have enough of it, now all we’re doing is waiting for authorization to shift into another gear,” said Dr. Shames.

For those not vaccinated yet, health officials say there’s no better time to do it.

“We’ll get through the next three weeks, we’ll get school started and then we’ll have the ability to say in the meantime when this was all happening, there was planning going on, and here is how we ensure that our community members will get that booster that they desire,” said Lane.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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