Oregon health officials prep for expanded vaccine eligibility

Coronavirus

OHA: Supply remains a concern with J&J issue

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Monday, vaccine appointments in Oregon will be open to anyone aged 16 and older, according to the state’s rollout plans.

And with the expanded eligibility comes an influx in demand — which will likely leave many Oregonians frustrated over limited appointment options.

Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said vaccine capacity is increasing, but supply is still a concern with the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The J&J vaccine has been in limbo after the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said last week they needed more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk is. The acting FDA commissioner had said she expected the pause to last only a matter of days.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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,” Allen said Friday. “There will still be enough doses for everyone to get one, though.”

Nearly a quarter of all Oregonians are fully vaccinated — about 75% of all seniors are vaccinated as well.

The latest weekly report showed 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.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said the new COVID-19 variants in Oregon are contributing to the large jump in cases and hospitalizations. He said state health officials are also tracking a large number of cases to social gatherings, including a recent multi-night Karaoke event that resulted in 36 cases, three hospitalizations and one death.

He also said an indoor concert at a small music venue and a separate backyard gathering also resulted in a large number of new cases.

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