SALEM, Ore. – Soon, Oregonians age 65 and older will be lining up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine alongside educators.
The change to the state’s plan for the next phase of distribution comes after new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many among this high-risk group have been calling for an opportunity to get vaccinated as the state previously planned to put the focus on school staff in hopes of bringing students back into the classroom.
On Jan. 23, this next priority phase will begin to get vaccinated. It includes seniors, child care providers, early learning and K-12 educators and staff. It will be made possible by additional vaccine shipments that are expected on that date. They will be from the federal government, which has announced plans to release its full reserve of vaccines to states instead of holding some doses in storage.
Gov. Kate Brown issued the following statement:
“While this is an unexpected change in course from the federal government, receiving more vaccines is welcome news for states — and Oregon is ready to devote all resources necessary to ramp up distribution with our health care partners. The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon National Guard have already begun working with hospitals, pharmacies, and local public health partners to ensure Oregon seniors and educators have ready access to a vaccine. We will be detailing plans on Friday for the rapid deployment of vaccines to health care providers and mass vaccination sites across Oregon.
“If you are an Oregonian who is newly eligible for vaccination, I am asking for your patience. Please, do not call your doctor’s office or health care provider with questions about when you can be vaccinated. Today’s news arrived with no advance notice from the federal government. Oregon health care providers are working as fast as humanly possible to shift their vaccine distribution plans to meet this sudden change in national guidance.
“Now, more than ever, I am determined to ensure that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 have access to a vaccine: Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, tribal, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, and communities of color. Reaching educators and individuals aged 65 and older from these communities is absolutely critical, as we strive to achieve equitable vaccine distribution in each phase of this process.”