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March 21, 2023
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COVID-19 and Flu Updates

COVID-19 and Flu Updates

Oregon Health Authority updated its vaccination approach following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s March 29 authorization of a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for adults 50 and older and certain immunocompromised individuals 12 and older. In addition, the CDC is allowing adults that received a primary Janssen dose followed by a booster dose of Janssen vaccine to receive a second booster dose of a mRNA vaccine ≥4 months after the previous booster dose.

Data continue to show the importance of vaccination and booster doses to protect individuals both from infection and severe outcomes of COVID-19. For adults and adolescents eligible for a first booster dose, these shots are safe and provide substantial benefits. During the recent Omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized. CDC continues to recommend that all eligible adults, adolescents, and children 5 and older be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting an initial booster when eligible.

Jackson County Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority’s Vaccination site at The Merrick continue to offer the COVID-19 vaccines. Second booster doses are available for adults 50 and older and for certain immunocompromised individuals who choose to get it. Jackson County Public Health welcomes walk-in appointments or people can schedule an appointment.

Jackson County Public Health

  • Address: 140 S. Holly Street Medford, Oregon 97501
  • Phone: 541-774-8209
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed for lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Closed all Federal Holidays The last check-in time to be seen for immunizations is at 11:45 and 4:45 p.m.

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Vaccination Site

  • Location: The Merrick, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford, OR. 97501
  • Hours of Operation: Thursday-Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • COVID-19 Vaccines Provided: All COVID-19 vaccines are available for people ages 5 and older

Where to get vaccinated in Jackson County:

Call 211 for information for vaccine locations, visit the Oregon Health Authority Vaccine Finder site or visit the Jackson County Health and Human Services COVID-19 website. COVID-19 Treatment While we currently have highly effective vaccines that protect against the virus that causes COVID-19, medical research continues to identify effective treatments.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have an increased risk of developing severe disease from COVID-19, do not delay getting treatment. Treatment must be started within the first few days of getting COVID-19 to be most effective. Do not until someone is very sick because, by that point, the treatment is less effective or may not even be an option anymore.

Some of these outpatient treatments are nearly 90% effective at preventing hospitalization. To get that result, treatment must be started within 5 days even though the high-risk individual may still be feeling fairly well at that point in time.

Talk to your healthcare provider about which treatment might be right for you. For information about available COVID-19 treatments, visit the OHA COVID-19 Treatments.

Is COVID-19 Endemic in Oregon?

No, not quite yet.

The word “endemic” refers to a disease that is usually present in a community, is fairly predictable, and doesn’t cause large-scale disruption to society. Malaria, for example, is endemic to certain countries but not in the United States. The seasonal flu is endemic in the U.S. and around the world because public health experts can generally predict its behavior (which is why we have “flu season”). The illness doesn’t usually overwhelm our lives, society, and health care system.

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have fallen in Oregon and Jackson County, we still do not fully understand COVID-19’s patterns year-to-year, as we do with the flu. Other hurdles that can get in the way of COVID-19 endemicity are low vaccination rates and higher case counts in certain geographic pockets.

Flu Season

Flu activity is increasing across most of the United States, including Oregon. This is an unusual time for flu activity to be increasing, and it is unclear how long increases will continue. In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses spread year-round, most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February. The CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination as long as flu viruses are circulating and even when protection against one virus is reduced. Annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months except when contraindicated.

While flu vaccination is the first and best way to prevent flu, antiviral drugs are a second line of defense that can be used to treat flu. When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, treatment with antiviral drugs can mean the difference between milder or more serious illness possibly resulting in a hospital stay. Clinicians should promptly treat people who have flu or suspected flu who are at higher risk of serious flu complications.

In addition to vaccination and the appropriate use of flu antiviral medications, CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of respiratory illness like flu. These everyday preventive actions include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands often.


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