16+ eligible Monday, OHA warns of ‘tight appointment availability’

Coronavirus

Case numbers have been climbing across Oregon in recent weeks

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) —  Oregon will open vaccine appointments to all Oregonians 16 and older Monday.

But not everyone who wants a vaccine will get one any time soon.

State health officials said Oregon is not expecting any more doses per week than it was already getting.

Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said during a press conference Friday that vaccine capacity is increasing, but supply is still a concern with the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He said Oregon will be receiving 70,000 fewer doses for the next few weeks due to the pause.

“We’ll continue to see tight appointment availability for many parts of the state in the coming weeks,” he said. There will still be enough doses for everyone to get one, though.

“However we still expect to have enough doses to vaccinate all Oregonians 16 and older before summer.”

So far, 23% of Oregonians are fully vaccinated, and 3 in 4 seniors are vaccinated. But Allen pointed out that the vaccine has not been administered as “equitably as they need to be.”

“For too many people race and income are predictors of whether you can access a vaccine or not,” he said.

Gov. Kate Brown told KOIN 6 News that she is requesting funding from the White House for more mobile vaccination vans to get the vaccine out to more underserved communities.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger warned about increasing cases in the state during Friday’s press conference.

“Daily cases of COVID-19 have more than doubled,” he said. He said the totals are eclipsing even the most pessimistic forecasting models.

The latest weekly report shows a third consecutive week of surging cases, higher hospitalizations and higher deaths than the previous week. Between April 5 and April 11, Oregon saw 3,722 new cases representing a 26% increase from the week before as well as 47 new COVID-19-related deaths — the highest weekly total in five weeks.

“We are all tired of fighting COVID – tired of wearing masks, missing our loved ones and keeping our distance – but we must continue to fight,” Sidelinger said.

Brown visited a community-based federal health clinic in Woodburn on Wednesday where many agricultural workers have been getting vaccinated. Brown said she believes the loss of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents “a relatively small part of the effort in our overall vaccine strategy and we will keep moving forward.” But general vaccine supplies have yet to keep pace with demand. By Wednesday, 945,453 Oregonians were fully vaccinated and nearly 1.5 million people had received at least one dose.

Brown herself was among the more than 85,000 Oregonians to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before the Oregon Health Authority asked all vaccine providers to immediately stop its use on Tuesday. The request followed new federal findings of blood clots in some women who received the vaccine.

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