PORTLAND, Ore. --- During a press conference Friday, Gov. Kate Brown defended her decision to vaccinate educators before older Oregonians who don't live in long-term care facilities.
Brown said Oregon has done a better job of protecting seniors than almost every other state.
“I have prioritized protecting seniors since day one of this response,” the governor said. She added Oregon has the second-lowest COVID-19 infection rate among seniors in the country.
Brown said vaccinating educators before Oregon's seniors is the only way schools could safely reopen during this school year. She said students must return to schools for their own mental health.
“I am asking these seniors to hold tight and stay safe for just a few more weeks,” Brown said. “I wish we had more vaccines to give.”
Over the next three weeks, the Oregon Health Authority expects the vast majority of the nearly 87,000 doses they plan on delivering to educators to be administered.
Health officials said the state receives 50,000 doses every week. Oregon has about 105,000 teachers and other K-12 staff along with 47,000 early learning and child care staff who are eligible starting Monday.
Oregon Health Authority will provide enough doses to administer 30,000 the week of Jan. 24 and more than 31,000 doses the week of Jan. 31.
The OHA said the size of the educator workforce is manageable enough that the supply of the vaccines the state gets from the federal government will allow them to vaccinate most educators before Feb. 8, which is when some seniors qualify to start getting vaccinated.
OHA said by Monday, the state will have vaccinated 67% of the phase 1A workforce and long-term care facilities.
It's important to note that anyone who is in Phase 1A that hasn't received their shot yet will stay eligible to get one. The state is reserving about 40,000 first doses for them.
To date, over 12,000 doses have been given out to those in phase 1A per day.
The Oregon Health Authority said we are a week ahead of schedule in terms of getting through that first phase in the vaccine rollout.