PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Health leaders in the tri-county region called this a “dark day” as they announced a vaccination sign-up survey for those in Phase 1A in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties has now been closed because they don’t have enough vaccines.
The survey went live on January 12. Out of 60,000 eligible workers who signed up, only 11,000 were scheduled for appointments — and even those will take weeks.
The health leaders said people who haven’t heard back from the county now have to sign up on an Oregon Health Authority website.
Officials said that it might take weeks to get an appointment even if eligible. The scheduling system can only handle 1,000 people at a time, so people may have to try back several times. Once appointments are full for the week they will have to try again the next week.
Phase 1A people who already have an appointment to be vaccinated don’t need to do anything but show up for the scheduled appointment.
But at the same time, they said teachers will begin to be vaccinated on Wednesday in the Portland area, following health care workers.
“There is a high likelihood, very high, many people in 1A won’t get an appointment or get first dose for weeks,” said Multnomah County Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey. “Others who filled out the survey may have to wait for months.”
Portland schools said they’re putting teachers who will be the first to see students in the classroom at the front of their lines, that is, elementary teachers, bus drivers and custodians, for example.
One of the frustrations, the county health directors said, is that the state is holding back thousands of doses for use as the second shot for those who got their first shot.
But asked if they would request Gov. Brown to modify her vaccine prioritization plans, Dr. Jennifer Vines said no.
“We’ve been in conversation with the state at all levels about this situation with vaccine,” she said. “We’ve been clear about the situation we are in. We don’t have any plans to formally request the governor pause her phase-in plan.”