Oregon leaders to fight vaccine hesitancy with education


OHA OK'd health care providers to resume giving out Johnson & Johnson vaccine

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority announced the OK Saturday for health care providers to resume administering the Johnson & Jonson COVID-19 vaccine.

This announcement comes as the Centers for Disease Control investigates the death of an Oregon woman who developed a rare blood clot within two weeks of receiving the vaccine.

Now Oregon leaders are tasked fighting vaccine hesitancy within the state.

Gov. Kate Brown said more public messaging and education efforts will be part of the plan to get more shots in arms in Oregon.

“I think the plan is very straight forward and that’s through educational efforts,” Brown told reporters at a press conference Friday. “We know these vaccines are safe, trusted and effective. They are the key to reopening our economy, and they are the best way you can prevent yourself from ending up in the hospital from landing in the hospital and prevent deaths.”

This also means meeting people where they are, said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen.

“Whether it’s becoming overcoming hesitancy or just getting people to think about wanting to get vaccinated, even if they don’t’ have a particular reason not to,” Allen said. “It’s communicating in a wide array of channels, trying to get to people where they are, able to find out why aren’t people getting vaccinated. And what we need to do to provide better access, easier access.”

Oregon health care providers and pharmacies meanwhile are starting to give out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine again. State health officials are instructing them to inform patients and caregivers about the benefits and risks of the vaccine in their primary language.

Allen said it will be important to reach people with messengers that they trust, like their primary health care providers.

He added that as vaccination sites start to expand — perhaps even to doctors’ offices in the future –it might be easier to spread the message.

In Washington, health officials are also concerned about folks who are reluctant to get the shot.

“We’ve had reported, six cases of this clotting, rare clotting disorder, after close to 7 million doses of vaccine have been administered. So, while it’s tragic, this is a pretty rare event and we don’t know for sure if there is a causal relationship,” said Clark County Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick.

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