PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Despite winter weather across the county causing shipment delays, Oregon says it still plans to move ahead with all scheduled vaccination timelines and expects no delays.
“We’ve rebounded from this latest trial,” Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said during a press conference on Friday. Despite the winter weather, Oregon averaged 13,000 shots per day in the last week.
Oregonians 70 and older will be eligible for the shot on Monday, February 22. Health officials plan to move ahead with that group, which includes more than 200,000 people.
Oregonians 65 and older will be eligible the following week.
More information about who will be eligible after that, in Phase 1B, will be released next week. The state expects more groups will be eligible by the start of April, including essential workers and people with serious health conditions.
Allen also shared good news about an increase in allocated doses from the federal government. However, there still aren’t enough doses for everyone.
“Oregon has capacity to administer more doses than it has on hand,” Allen said. “We still don’t have enough to vaccinate everyone.”
Governor Brown also spoke at the press conference, saying Oregon has the 3rd lowest COVID infection rate in the nation. Oregon is tied with 17 other states for having vaccinated 12% of its population.
Brown also said she expects most students will be back in school classrooms, at least for part of the day, by the end of April.
“All educators who want a vaccine will soon be fully vaccinated but we also see over and over the clear science that with rigorous health and safety protocols in place, schools can safely reopen,” she said.
State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said the state continues to see declining cases and hospitalizations, with a 66% drop in the 7 day rolling average since the beginning of the year.
Allen also said OHA was working on the racial and ethnic inequity surrounding the vaccine. 74% of those vaccinated in the state so far identify as white.
“At OHA, we’re working to build bridges with communities our health care system has failed to serve well, improve access to vaccines and other health care, eliminate health inequity and enable more people to live a healthier life,” Allen said.
Tens of thousands of doses of the Moderna vaccine earmarked for Oregon have been held up by severe winter weather walloping the eastern United States. Oregon officials said the state received its shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on schedule. But the 67,000 Moderna doses expected to arrive on Tuesday still hadn’t shown up by Friday. Officials expect the late shipments to arrive next week along with the usual weekly allocations.
Delayed vaccine shipments have also impacted Southwest Washington. The vaccine clinic at the Clark County Fairgrounds will be closed on Saturday due to a shortage of doses on hand; however, KOIN 6 learned there were no scheduled appointments for the day. Officials said the clinic was aiming to reopen by Tuesday.