Tri-county region gets 17K more doses for Phase 1A

Coronavirus

There are also 15,000 additional doses earmarked for educators

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After news Tuesday that there weren’t enough vaccine doses for Phase 1A workers in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, Governor Brown allocated more doses on Wednesday.

Health officials said Brown made the decision after phone calls on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. She tweeted that health care workers and Phase 1A individuals “have always been my top priority.”

On Monday, health leaders in the tri-county region announced a vaccination sign-up survey for those in Phase 1A in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties was closed because they don’t have enough vaccines.

The survey that shut down Tuesday 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.

A total of 17,000 more vaccine doses will be allocated the week of Feb. 1 for those in Phase 1A. There are also 15,000 additional doses earmarked for educators.

‘I don’t know how they do the distribution’

It comes down to supply. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said they haven’t gotten enough doses to get through all those workers and they’re asking state officials to help bridge the gap.

“We have the major hospitals here in the tri-county region in Multnomah County,” she said.

The tri-county region provides essential medical services for people statewide. Many even travel to the region for care. But the vaccines allocated so far for the enormous workforce powering the health care systems in the Portland metro have fallen short.

While some smaller communities have gotten enough vaccine proportionally moved through their health care workers and are now onto educators and other populations, like seniors, Kafoury said the number of doses available for the massive health care workforce in the metro area has lagged behind.

“That was one of the points that I made to the governor on several calls with her and her staff. The seniors in Multnomah County shouldn’t be penalized because just because they live here,” she said. “And that, I knew I was hearing reports of people in other counties who are already getting their vaccinations and we want people to have access who are eligible.”

The question is whether the state is allocating the vaccine appropriately to the tri-county area compared to other areas of the state.

“I can’t tell you what the state’s formula for distribution is. I know that, I’m assuming we get a larger number just because we are a bigger county,” Kafoury said. “But, I don’t know how they do the distribution and that’s a good question for them, especially because we are seeing the effects of it right now because we have people in the 1A category that still can’t get access to the vaccine.”

Kafoury told KOIN 6 News she will personally look into this.

“I’d like to think that the 17,000 is a downpayment. But I can assure you that we will be asking.”

Details of the allocation

  • Each county will receive 2,000 doses each (6,000 total) for focused vaccination efforts within priority Phase 1a populations.
  • The remaining 26,000 doses will go to the partner health systems. 
    • 11,000 for regional Phase 1A vaccine efforts 
    • 15,000 for education/early learning efforts

 Public health’s Phase 1A priorities include:

  • Individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or who receive in-home services, other medical/disability individuals, and their caregivers
  • Traditional health workers who provide in-person services
  • Health care interpreters who provide in-person services
  • Home health providers
  • Long-term care facilities not covered through the federal pharmacy program 
  • Long-term care facilities covered by the federal pharmacy program but not yet scheduled and that have reported recent outbreaks
  • Other congregate care facilities outlined in Phase 1A.

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