PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority’s Vaccine Advisory Committee is still working to decide who will be included in the next phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
The committee — which is not in charge of vaccine distribution — has been asked to focus on health equity by ensuring the vaccines get to those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
No concrete decisions were made Thursday about who is next in line for the vaccine; however, teachers are expected to be prioritized next.
“The vaccine is what we’ve been waiting for, for a long time, and clearly this will be a huge piece of what it will take to be able to open our schools on a larger scale in a way that feels safe,” said Portland Association of Teachers President Elizabeth Theil.
The advisory committee held a meet-and-greet on Tuesday. But it took an hour and a half just to get through introductions during Thursday’s first official meeting as committee members were asked to share their “word of the day.”
One committee member told KOIN 6 News that at this pace they won’t be done until August and pointed out that Oregon is already behind other states in vaccine distribution and with simply holding vaccine advisory committee meetings.
State health leaders had planned on vaccinating 100,000 people by the end of December but a week into the new year the state has administered just 55,000 of the nearly 211,000 doses it’s received.