New COVID boosters approved for young kids; COVID cases decreasing

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Children as young as five years old in Oregon are eligible for the newest COVID-19 booster shot. The Oregon Health Authority made the announcement about the bivalent booster on Thursday during a press briefing.

“Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded Emergency Use Authorization of COVID-19 vaccine boosters for children 5-11,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup met last night and affirmed the new eligibility recommendations.”

Pfizer’s booster for ages 5-11 is a smaller dose than the one given to people 12 years and older. Moderna’s bivalent booster, for ages 6-17, is the same dose formulation as the product authorized for people 18 years and older.

The newly approved bivalent boosters target the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants and also protect against the original COVID virus strain. State health officials recommend the booster dose at least two months after finishing your last cycle of shots.

 As of Wednesday, more than 259,000 bivalent booster doses have been administered statewide. Meaning, 6.1% of all people in Oregon have received the new bivalent booster compared to 3.5% nationwide.

RELATED: Latest Oregon COVID numbers: Cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations

Since Sept. 7, daily reported case counts have fallen in Oregon from a rolling seven-day average of 580 cases as of Sept. 7 to 482 cases as of Oct. 12. By comparison, CDC shows a national seven-day moving average that is also trending slightly downward. Test positivity is also down in Oregon, from the 7.2% reported Sept. 7, to 6.8% reported Oct. 12.

During the media meeting, Sidelinger also highlighted progress to control the spread of monkeypox (hMPXV) in Oregon.

RELATED: CDC: 1 dose of vaccine protects against monkeypox, 2nd dose encouraged

“As we look to a brighter future in our COVID-19 response — with people in Oregon continuing to get the bivalent boosters and the availability of boosters for children 11 and younger — we are feeling similarly optimistic about monkeypox,” he said.

Sidelinger reported that as of Wednesday, there were 230 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon, with cases in nine counties: 11 in Clackamas, two in Columbia, one in Coos, one in Hood River, 22 in Lane, eight in Marion, 157 in Multnomah, one in Union and 27 in Washington.

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