Vaccines spread thin as Oregon readies for senior groups

Coronavirus

People 80 and up will become eligible for the vaccine starting February 8

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is days away from starting to vaccinate seniors but many who are eligible likely won’t get their first shot right away due to supply shortages.

People 80 and older will become eligible starting Monday. This group includes about 168,000 Oregonians and would take an estimated three weeks to complete.

But the state expects to receive only about 66,000 first doses of the vaccine next week and tens of thousands of doses still need to be given to healthcare workers and educators, especially in the Portland metro area. The Oregon Health Authority recently pulled vaccine shipments headed to some counties that had already finished with Phase 1A and educators and redirected them to the metro area.

More than 100,000 educators became eligible for their shot on Jan. 25 — roughly half of those doses are ready, according to OHA. A little more than 60,000 doses have been allocated and will be administered by the end of the week. OHA said the current pace is on track to have a critical mass of educators vaccinated by mid-Febuary.

COVID-19 vaccine information by county

People 65 and up — roughly 750,000 Oregonians — will be eligible to get the shot by the end of February.

The Oregon Health Authority said it is aiming to vaccinate 70% of each group before moving on to the next population of lower ages.

“Right now, most eligible Oregonians will get vaccinated at hospitals, local public health authorities, federally qualified health centers and through mass vaccination events,” the OHA said. “Some Oregonians are receiving vaccinations from federal and state pharmacy partners. Each county is different. Some counties offer online sign-ups and scheduling in partnership with hospitals and health systems, while others have information on the local public health authority website. OHA is working closely with vaccine partners to build tools and pathways that connect more eligible Oregonians to vaccination sites and events.” 

If you are eligible, use the Vaccine Information Tool chatbox online, text ORCOVID to 898211, email ORCOVID@211info.org or call 211.

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