5 Oregon counties move to low risk after hitting target vaccine rate


FILE – In this Wednesday, March 24, 2021 file photo, a nurse holds a vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and provided through the global COVAX initiative, prior to vaccination in Machakos, Kenya. The Serum of Institute of India says it hopes to start delivering coronavirus vaccine doses to the U.N. backed effort known as COVAX and to other countries by the end of the year, in a move that will significantly set back global efforts to immunize people against COVID-19.
(AP Photo/Brian Inganga, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Five Oregon counties have hit the state’s target of a 65% vaccination rate, allowing them to move to a lower risk level this Friday.

Washington, Benton, Deschutes, Hood River and Lincoln counties have all vaccinated 65% of residents ages 16 or older as of Monday, according to a press release from Gov. Kate Brown’s office Tuesday afternoon. The counties have also submitted required equity plans to the Oregon Health Authority to close gaps in vaccination rates.

Multnomah County reached the 65% threshold but was unable to create the equity plan by the deadline. It is likely Multnomah County will go to a lower risk next week.

“Vaccines protect you, and they protect everyone around you. It’s going to take all of us working together to make sure enough Oregonians are vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and end this pandemic,” Brown said in a statement. “I’d like to thank everyone in these counties, particularly their outstanding public health officials, health care workers, and volunteers who have led the way in making sure their communities are protected against COVID-19.”

New vaccination goals and framework for counties moving to a lower risk category, with the ultimate goal of the state lifting all risk levels and safety restrictions, were announced last Tuesday by Brown amid backlash for moving counties back into and quickly out of the extreme risk level.

The new county risk levels were announced hours after OHA released more information for businesses regarding mask and vaccine status policies.

Oregon reported four new virus-related deaths on Tuesday, along with 484 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases.

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