‘Overcomplicated’: Travel nurse not able to get COVID vaccine

Coronavirus

Jon Starlight caught inbetween vaccine groups, even though he's a nurse

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jon Starlight is a travel nurse who works directly with COVID-19 patients. He said he’s called the Department of Health, his insurance provider and his doctor to find a place where he can get vaccinated. He said he’s even been at places where a company was vaccinating their employees and patients and had extra doses — but was turned away because he wasn’t an employee.

And this week, during his Wednesday night shift, Starlight said one of his patients tested positive for the coronavirus.

Still he hasn’t been able to get a vaccination. He’s frustrated with the way the vaccine rollout is set up.

“In my opinion, I think it’s just way overcomplicated,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I think if you’re a nurse and you’re working with patients who have COVID especially, you should just be able to take your ID or they can look up your nursing license in a few seconds, and just get the vaccine from a pharmacy or your provider.”

He said the whole process feels horribly slow because he’s part of the Phase 1A group eligible for the vaccine in Oregon — but can’t get one. In Washington state they’re already planning to move to the next phase of their vaccination plan.

Starlight said Friday he found someone willing to make an exception and vaccinate him this weekend with their employees. But they won’t since he had direct exposure with a patient who was COVID positive.

That’s why he needs the vaccine.

“I really would like one so I can feel safer, and I think if your nurse is vaccinated, the patients are safer,” he said, “and so is my family.”

Early Friday Gov. Kate Brown announced that Oregon will not be receiving an increase in vaccine shipments next week. Operation Warp Speed’s General Perna confirmed to her that states will not be receiving increased shipments of COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal stockpile as previously expected.

She said this is because there is no federal reserve of doses. Brown demanded answers from the Trump administration, calling this a “deception on the national scale.”

At an afternoon press conference, Brown said they will start vaccinating educators and school staff on Jan. 25 despite the vaccine shortage.

Oregon’s most vulnerable population, those 80 years and older, will begin vaccinations on February 8. A new plan revealed Friday will vaccinate seniors in 4 waves: 80 years and older, 75 and older, 70 and older and 65 and older. The waves will continue each week following Feb. 8 as doses permit.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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