PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon and Washington are inching closer to reopening but tens of thousands of people still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to cross each state’s vaccination threshold.
By Tuesday, Oregon needed another 65,484 people to get the shot in order to reach the 70% goal, which is the key to rolling back restrictions. The vaccination rate in Oregon was hovering at 68% for residents 18 and older.
In comparison, Washington looks at data for people 16 and up and that rate is at 67.2%.
“Our state uses data for people age 16 and up; the federal government uses data for ages 18 and up,” said Governor Jay Inslee.
California rolled back social distancing and mask requirements on Tuesday —15 months after it became the first state in the U.S. to shut down at the onset of the pandemic.
Oregonians are eager to follow suit.
“I do hope people get vaccinated and we get to lift the restrictions sooner than later,” said Portland resident Alex Cann.
Axel, who also lives in Portland, said, “We definitely need to do it. I think it would be a fantastic thing to reopen, I am definitely over all the restrictions.”
Others think restrictions should be lifted before the state crosses the 70% vaccination goal and leave it to each individual’s judgment on how to proceed.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement, “Many people, myself included, are eager for our state to fully reopen. I have said repeatedly we are going to do this on June 30 or when we hit 70% of people 16 and up initiating vaccinations — whichever happens first.”
Oregon Governor Kate Brown took to Twitter to urge Oregonians to get the shot, saying, “We are so close to achieving a 70% statewide vaccination rate, bringing us close to a sense of normalcy and lifting health and safety restrictions. Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”
Both states are offering lottery incentives to get vaccinated. The Oregon Health Authority is also offering $100 gift cards for Fred Meyer and Safeway for those who get their first dose of the vaccine. Gift cards will be handed out Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center.