Oregon vaccine appointment woes continue ahead of J&J shipments


New signup tool selects eligible recipients at random

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is expecting to receive 34,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, the Oregon Health Authority said on Monday.

While it is welcome news to the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians in line to get vaccinated, the process of scheduling appointments has been an ongoing headache for the majority of those trying to sign up.

Not only has the state’s website crashed multiple times, people continue to report receiving error messages and inexplicably being kicked out of sessions. In addition, 211–the phone option for signing up–has been flooded.

Get Vaccinated Oregon signup tool

Oregonians 65 and older became eligible to sign up for the vaccine on Monday. The new group was added on the same day the state implemented a new signup tool at getvaccinated.orgegon.gov. The selection process, however, is random and does not consider how long a person has been eligible when granting appointments.

“The thing that irritates me with the lottery is that you’re throwing a 97-year-old in with a 65-year-old in a lottery […] that doesn’t seem right to me,” said Carol Pinegar, a 70-year-old who finally secured an appointment after dozens of attempts. “I know people who have given up.”

The Food and Drug Administration cleared a J&J shot on Saturday that works with just one dose instead of two.

In the U.S., the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were 95% protective against symptomatic COVID-19. J&J’s one-dose effectiveness of 85% against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66% when moderate cases were rolled in. 

Nearly 4 million doses of the newest COVID-19 vaccine shipped Sunday night and will begin to be delivered to states for injections starting on Tuesday. About 16 million more doses will be delivered by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June, according to health officials. However, distribution is poised to be backloaded.

The White House is encouraging Americans to take the first dose available to them, regardless of manufacturer.

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