PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As of this week, Oregon has received a little more than 610,000 doses of the vaccine and has administered a little more than 238,000 doses, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Based on data available through the state dashboard, there are currently about 371,000 unused doses. People need two doses to be fully vaccinated and just 27,000 people have received both shots in Oregon.
“As we do more and more prime doses, then more and more of our allocation needs to be devoted to second doses,” explained Public Health Director Rachael Banks.
The OHA hasn’t yet confirmed the exact number of unused doses in Oregon. But Banks explained during the Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday that there isn’t a black-and-white answer.
“Sometimes when you’re looking at numbers, the doses that we’ve been allocated doesn’t mean they’re sitting on shelves,” said Banks. “The other thing just in terms of that is that we have to maintain those second doses, so there may be allocations that people think are not used but they have someone’s name on them, so-to-speak.”
By the end of Thursday’s meeting, the committee agreed on BIPOC communities and people between 16 and 64 with chronic medical conditions should be prioritized in the next phase of the vaccine rollout. But the committee struggled to figure out which group should be first in line.
“I don’t agree with removing BIPOC as the first priority,” said Vaccine Advisory Committee member Kelly Gonzales. “I think it white washes the structural racism and systemic racism that we are trying to center.”
Another committee member pointed out not everyone may be ready to receive a vaccine and more education is needed.
The committee plans to dive deeper into these issues and make a final decision on what group should be first when they meet again next week.