The Deschutes County Fairgrounds reopened its COVID-19 vaccination clinic Wednesday. The reopening comes after the release of the bivalent booster shot, meant to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron strains.
“The updated booster will be the best way to protect ourselves and those around us from severe illness and hospitalization caused by the dominant BA.5 and BA.4 COVID-19 subvariants,” Oregon State Epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said.
The indoor clinic also offers all pediatric vaccines and the novavax vaccine. No appointment or proof of insurance is necessary. Only a vaccine card is required and all vaccines are free.
Side effects may include flu like symptoms such as fatigue or fever, and soreness of the arm where the shot was administered. None of these effects are expected to last more than 12 hours.
“They’re self-limited and will go away,” Dr. Sidelinger said. “It’s much better than going through COVID-19 as an infection.”
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) warns of a more vigorous flu season after forecasting through the southern hemisphere’s winter months.
“So with wearing masks, keeping our distance and staying home behaviors, influenza did not circulate in Oregon or other states nearly as vigorously in the past couple seasons,” Sidelinger said. “What we’ve seen especially in Australia is cases of influenza and hospitalizations of influenza have been much higher this season. This helps us forecast what we could expect in Oregon and across the U.S.”
OHA recommends people get both the new bivalent COVID booster along with their seasonal flu shot to help protect against what is predicted to come this fall and winter.