New OHSU COVID-19 forecast projects new wave in October due to waning immunity

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle. The U.S. vaccination drive against COVID-19 stood on the verge of a major new phase as government advisers Thursday, Sept. 23, recommended booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans — despite doubts the extra shots will do much to slow the pandemic. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The newest weekly forecast from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) projects that COVID cases and hospitalizations will continue to fall in September before spiking at the end of October due to waning immunity from current vaccinations.

Cases are down throughout the state. OHSU reported a 44% drop in COVID hospitalizations from its peak in July. This, as the new bivariant booster was approved in Oregon on Thursday by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, following its clearance by the FDA and CDC.

Dean Sideinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority (OHA) wrote in a statement:

“With much appreciation to the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup for its ongoing commitment, I am pleased to say the group met last night and reaffirmed the authorization of the new updated bivalent booster by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With that agreement, we can begin to offer the booster. We expect a full statement from the workgroup in the coming days.”

The shots contain half the original vaccine and half protection against Omicron BA-4 and BA-5. New shipments landed in Oregon on Thursday.

READ MORE | New boosters sent out to Oregon to combat COVID-19

Portland resident Bryan Finlayson says he's glad to see the new booster updated to target the two variants.

I’ve gotten every single booster. The last booster, I asked if it was updated and they said it was same old one, so this will be good. Definitely going to get it," said Portland resident Bryan Finlayson.

Others, like Finlayson, are already making plans to get the shot.

“I feel like I’m keeping myself and the community healthy by staying vaccinated, so I’d say it’s pretty important," said Portland resident Taylor McClish.

Oregon Health Authority will be hosting a media panel next week to talk about the new vaccines and other concerns like monkeypox. Viewers can watch via YouTube live stream.

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