OR Officials Urge Booster Shots as COVID Cases Skyrocket
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Oregon is in the midst of its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Health officials are urging the public to get vaccinated or, if they're already vaccinated, to get a booster shot, as the Omicron variant drives cases up across the country.
Dr. Leona O'Keefe, public health officer for Jackson County Public Health, said people who are vaccinated need to consider a booster, noting those with the first series of vaccine are 30% to 40% protected against infection from Omicron.
"If you've been boosted, you're about 70% to 75% protected," O'Keefe explained. "So obviously, there's quite a big difference in your level of protection once you're boosted."
O'Keefe noted even people with boosters might still feel ill, but their chances of spreading COVID-19, being hospitalized or dying are cut down massively. Guidelines for when to get a booster recently changed, with people who received Moderna or Pfizer vaccines eligible for a booster after five months. Boosters are suggested after two months for people who received the Johnson and Johnson shot.
Saleem Noorani, a small-business owner in the Willamette Valley and AARP Oregon executive council member, said one of his employees was exposed during the December rush, which meant he lost a quarter of his full-time workforce, underscoring the importance of protecting people with the vaccine.
"So for small business owners where you're trying to give everybody enough hours, so you're not overstaffed, but once you're hit with something like this, you know, it has a huge impact," Noorani pointed out.
Older Oregonians are the most likely to be vaccinated and boosted. O'Keefe stressed it is also important for young people to get vaccinated, to ensure the virus does not have the opportunity to spread to vulnerable people.
"Please protect yourself and take care of those around you," O'Keefe urged. "And to those of you who are already taking these steps, I would say thank you. We appreciate it. It's helping your community."
Gov. Kate Brown is spearheading a campaign to get boosters to a million Oregonians by the end of January. To date, the state has reached about a quarter of the goal.
Some health risks have stopped people from getting the vaccine, including reports of myocarditis in young men, which has occurred in a small number of cases.
get more stories like this via email
Voters from Arizona and across the West say a public official's position on conservation will be an important factor when deciding who to support in t…
A new online tool is helping community groups in Boston ensure all neighborhoods reap the benefits from urban tree canopies. The Tree Equity Score …
Farming trend researchers are poring over new federal data that only come around every five years. The latest information helps some organizations …
The risk first responders face is getting renewed focus following the fatal shooting of two police officers and a paramedic in Minnesota. Amid …
West Virginia House delegates passed a bill this week that would allow raw milk products from farmers to be sold directly to consumers. Maria Moles…
Health and Wellness
New York disability rights advocates are working to break barriers in numerous legislative areas, including those in transportation, housing…
Kentucky saw a 48% reduction in child victims of maltreatment from 2018 to 2022, according to the latest federal data. However, child abuse and …
The Colorado Avalanche has teamed up with Xcel Energy to generate funds to help people struggling to pay their energy bills this winter. Every time …