By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

State opens new high volume vaccine sites as Omicron spreads

Thousands of flights were canceled across the country over the long Christmas weekend as the Omicron variant spread with breathtaking speed across the country.

The CDC reported that average daily new cases are now more 176,000, and officials in New York City reported that pediatric hospitalizations have increased 395% since Dec. 5.

In Oregon, where health officials warned that an Omicron surge was expected to be in full swing by January, the state announced on Dec. 23 that several new high-volume vaccination centers were opening across the state.

One of the new centers is at Spirit Mountain Casino. It will open Jan. 15, from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Like all of the new high-volume sites, it will offer all three vaccines, pediatric shots and booster shots.

People in Oregon age 18 and older are eligible for booster shots six months after a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two months after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Although people who are vaccinated can catch, and spread, COVID-19, vaccinations typically provide strong protection against hospitalization and death. Booster doses have been found to offer greater protection, and the governor has set a goal of having one million Oregonians receive their booster shots by the end of January.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has recommended that people 18 and older receive a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine over Johnson & Johnson’s version, because the mRNA vaccines have greater effectiveness and a stronger safety profile.

Last week, the Food & Drug Administration authorized two new oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19, for people at high risk of developing severe illness.

As of press time, Yamhill County had not updated its COVID-19 case data since Dec. 22.

The Oregon Health Authority had not updated since Dec. 23, when it reported there had been 34 new cases in Yamhill County, making a total to date of 10,295 cases and 155 deaths in the county.

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