Subject: Eligibility and access expand. A new vaccine is approved.

Updates from Dr. Biemer

News on the Coronavirus and vaccines

March 5th, 2021                 

Dear patients and friends,

Check out the side bars and below for most up to date information on Covid vaccines. Notably, as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was authorized last week, becoming a distinctly different third option, many have asked which is best.

Which shot?

There are a few important notes on direct comparison of these vaccines. Though the effectiveness of the J&J shot seems to be a little lower then the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines there were no head to head studies. They were studied in different populations, with different mixes of viral variants, at different times in the pandemic.

Next, the single J&J shot gave essentially complete protection from hospitalization and death in the study. It was particularly effective in younger and healthier populations, and its ability to protect older sicker patients from moderate illness is still being studied.

Finally, there is no conclusive evidence yet of the any of the shots’ ability to prevent mild infection or so called “long Covid” where patients have brain fog, loss of taste or smell, muscle aching, fatigue etc. for months afterword. Both of these are important questions.


My take: I’d follow the lead of most infectious disease experts and get the vaccine as soon as possible, whichever is available. If I were young (under 60!) and healthy I’d definitely consider the single J&J vaccine if it was possible, as with a single vaccine immune protection is available more quickly. If I were older with underlying conditions that put me at higher risk of infection, and not in a huge rush to get out and about, I would prefer to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. If there was more urgency to get the vaccine though I’d feel comfortable taking the J&J if it was available sooner.

As we start to look toward the future, I would like to share some information about another topic.

Brain Health

Some of you are aware that over the past two to three years I have been studying and in some patients applying, the approach to cognitive loss and dementia that is explained in Dr. Dale Bredesen's book "The End of Alzheimers Protocol." Dr Bredesen is a neurologist with an interest in chronic debilitating brain diseases, and views the current approach to dementia as one of medicine's greatest disappointments over the past 30 years. His approach, taken from the tenets of what is now called Functional Medicine, is to get at the core causes of inflammation and degeneration of the synapses of the brain.

More to come in future letters, but if you have a concern about your brain health or have a strong family history of dementia in first degree relatives, you might start by reading his book. Or, there is information about his program at Apollo Health ( I will only be working with my current patients as this program is fairly intensive and time consuming. The greatest thing going for the program is everything in it makes you healthier - does not involve prescriptions or any sort of invasive interventions.

I hope this update finds you well. Stay tuned for information as we learn more.


Dr. Biemer, Julia Jones and the whole office crew

COVID-19 Vaccine Information 


The vaccine is to be distributed as outlined by the OHA. *Please note that this phasing has already undergone significant change and is subject to continued adjustment.

Phases 1A and 1B (groups 1-5) are currently eligible

  • Front-line healthcare workers and first responders

  • Residents of skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities, adult foster homes, and other similar group living situations

  • Educators and childcare workers

  • All individuals age 65 and over

  • For details on these phases please use the link to OHA above.

Phase 1b

  • Group 6: Adults over 45 with underlying conditions and increased risk, migrant and seasonal workers, agricultural and food processing workers, those living in low income housing, homeless, those displaced by or fighting wildfires (no later than March 29th)

  • Group 7: Individuals with underlying conditions and increased risk, additional groups of frontline workers, multigenerational households (no later than May 1st)

Phase 2

  • All remaining Oregonians over 16 (Over age 44 by June 1st, 16-44 by July 1st)

Use the vaccine eligibility tool on the Oregon Health Authority Website to determine whether you should sign up for a vaccine and get connected with a clinic. Washington residents please refer to the Washington Department of Health for more information.

If you have been vaccinated or get vaccinated please let us know so that we can keep this record in your chart.


Individuals 65 and over are now eligible to be vaccinated. To be matched with a vaccination program use the tool on Oregon Health Authority website or pharmacy signups below.

Costco Sign up

Safeway/Albertson's Sign up

Text 211 or email for vaccine registration information and assistance.

A new vaccine by Johnson & Johnson has been approved. We don't have distribution details yet, but are aware that this new vaccine does not require a booster (second dose) and is stored at conventional temperatures. We are hopeful this will bolster access quickly.


Oregon Department of Human services is offering regular email newsletter updates. They published a great special edition a few days ago (click here to read).

If you would like to receive future updates like this one sign up here.

Our Practice

It is not clear yet when the vaccine will be available to our clinic for distribution. We are hopeful that the approval of new vaccines with fewer storage restrictions will make this a possibility in the future.

Some useful links...

Here is a list of Covid testing sites compiled by Washington County. Although the list was compiled in Washington county, many of the listed resources are available to the greater Portland area. Here is the Oregon Health Authority Testing Map.

Never hesitate to contact us

James J. Biemer Jr. MD

9135 SW Barnes Rd. Suite 863

Portland, OR 97225

(p) 503-384-0316

(f) 503-416-8145