PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee is finally making headway on its recommendations for who should be included in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.
The advisory panel, part of the Oregon Health Authority, has had a slow start.
During the meeting on Thursday, members created a list of people they’d like to see be vaccinated next. It includes BIPOC communities, refugees, adults 16-64 with chronic conditions, adults and youth eligible for the vaccine who are in custody, frontline workers not included in Phase 1A and 1B, multi-generational homes and low-income senior housing.
“I think we’re finding our way,” committee member Kelly Gonzales said of Thursday’s progress. “I think we’re creating the space where we can have those conversations about the ways in which we are either centering or not centering equity.”
The Oregon Health Authority said more work needs to be done on the operations and legal side to figure out how to actually get the vaccine to these groups and what that looks like. The Vaccine Advisory Committee plans to discuss those challenges at next week’s meeting.
It’s important to note that the committee can only issue recommendations on the vaccine rollout; Governor Kate Brown has been the one to ultimately make decisions on who gets the vaccine next.
Brown’s office has not yet responded on how she plans to use the committee’s recommendations.
Earlier in the week, Brown toured a vaccination site at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem where Salem Health and the Oregon National Guard teamed up for the state’s first mass vaccination clinic. The governor watched as the Guard gave shots to Marion County healthcare workers. Oregon is still trying to work through the tens of thousands of healthcare workers and first responders who are first in line to receive the vaccine.