EUGENE, Ore.--The FDA on Friday night gave emergency approval to the world's first coronavirus vaccine, but Gov. Kate Brown says the bigger challenge may be in convincing Oregonians to get the shots.
At a news conference Friday, Brown said only four in 10 Oregonians said they will definitely get the vaccine when it becomes available. And scientists say that's way too low for the population to achieve community immunity.
"What we think based on how it's spread and how it's behaved so far, is that we'll need to have 70 percent of the population vaccinated to achieve this community immunity where we'll be able to back down on additional measures," said state epidemiologist, Dean Sidelinger.
Brown was asked if people won't wear masks, will they get a needle stuck in their arms? In other words how can we get everyone on board?
"We are challenged with a number of folks who are opposed to vaccinations," she said. "And we have one of the lowest child immunization rates in the country."
As for who gets the shot first, Brown said the state is establishing a vaccine advisory committee. In her words, it's important there are a diversity of voices at the table to discuss who is prioritized.
Between Pfizer and Moderna--which has not yet received approval--Oregon is set to receive 147,000 doses. Brown promised that at least 100,000 high risk people would be receiving their first dose of the vaccine by the end of the year.
"It is a sad reality that there will be more infections and more deaths, but we together control how many that is and we've been doing a good job of that in Oregon," Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said.
Overall, stats show that we are doing a good job here in Oregon. According to Brown, if we had the national median rate of deaths in Oregon, our death toll would be higher by 2,000.