A person in a yellow sweater looks away as a healthcare worker gives them the vaccine.
Eligible Oregonians can now receive any of the three vaccine types as a booster shot, thanks to the approved "mix-and-match" strategy. Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

Oregon’s regional immunization advisory group recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines Friday, paving the way for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to announce a booster rollout plan. Pfizer booster shots were authorized by OHA at the end of September.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, a group of experts who guide the West Coast states on immunization decisions, recommended booster shots for Moderna vaccine recipients who got their second shot at least six months ago and are 65 and older, living in long term care facilities, or are 18 to 64 years old and more susceptible to COVID due to underlying medical conditions or workplace exposure. The group also recommended a booster dose for everyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago. Those are the same recommendations the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made earlier this week.

The workgroup also approved a “mix-and-match” booster strategy, meaning anyone eligible for a booster shot can receive any of the three vaccine types as a booster. There is no official guidance on how people should mix-and-match the vaccines, but a recent federally-funded study found that recipients of the Johnson & Johnson single shot who received the Moderna booster shot saw their antibody levels rise significantly higher than those who received two Johnson & Johnson doses.

Friday’s recommendation is the final step needed for the OHA to authorize booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients statewide. According to OHA, Oregonians who qualify for a booster shot should seek them out through their healthcare provider or local pharmacy. Notably, Multnomah County-run vaccine centers are not providing booster shots because they are focusing their vaccination efforts on unvaccinated people.

“Following this authorization, it may still take a little time for Oregonians eligible to get a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster to schedule their shots,” said OHA Medical Director Paul Cieslak in a press release Thursday, prior to the workgroup’s authorization. “Those who become eligible will get one, and we appreciate everyone's patience. The good news is, all vaccines continue to protect vaccinated Oregonians from COVID-19."

“Whether you received the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, everyone eligible who wants a booster will be able to get one and the extra layer of protection a booster dose provides,” Governor Kate Brown said in a press release Friday.