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COVID case numbers keep rising in Jefferson County, putting six residents in the hospital

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of the federal process and now recommends a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months after their first vaccination series.

The Workgroup is made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health. It independently reviews the FDA's actions related to COVID-19 vaccines.

The Oregon Health Authority says medical experts have found that while the vaccine remains highly effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, protection begins to wane after several months in older adults.

The OHA says those who should get a booster include:

-- People 65 and older

-- People living in a long-term care facility

-- People age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions

Those who may get a booster include:

-- People 18 and older with underlying medical conditions, and

-- People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional setting.

Boosters are not yet recommended for those who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

"But I expect any day now to be able to do booster doses with the Moderna as well," says Michael Baker, director of Jefferson County Public Health.

People can access boosters at the Public Health Department, pharmacies, and many health care providers.

The number of cases continues to climb in Jefferson County. The week from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20, Jefferson County recorded 94 new cases, last week 160 new cases, numbers higher than during the holiday season, the previous high in case counts.

Some people have slight symptoms, but for many, this virus hits hard. "The worst case of flu they've ever felt. Never been this sick before in my life. These are things we're hearing commonly," says Baker, "and that's not even those individuals that are hospitalized."

As of Monday, six Jefferson County residents were hospitalized with COVID. St. Charles Bend had a total of 77 COVID patients, 15 of whom were in Intensive Care, 14 of those are on ventilators.

Public Health is stocking up on vaccines to serve the rush as people try to meet Gov. Kate Brown's Oct. 18 deadline for health care workers and school staff to get their shots.

While the vaccinated get their boosters, Baker hopes more people to get their first shots.

"The research shows the vaccine is the safest and most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID," says Baker. "I would encourage everyone to have that conversation with their health care provider."


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