EUGENE, Ore. -- Lane County Public Health held a virtual town hall Thursday night, answering questions the public had about the COVID-19 vaccine and distribution.
Officials from public health were joined by representatives from PeaceHealth, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, the University of Oregon, Oregon Medical Group, and Eugene-Springfield Fire. The overall theme of the night boiled down to the ethics behind why the vaccination distribution process is set up the way it is.
The panel said those who are getting the vaccine first either play a critical roll in fighting the pandemic, like first responders, or are among the most vulnerable populations. Officials on the panel said with a small supply of vaccines, these ethical decisions must be made in order to save lives.
Dr. Jessica Versage with McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center said even when there are extra doses of the vaccine, they have those ethical discussions on where they should be distributed to.
"Part of those ethical principles include who we should reach out for, so initially at our hospital we were able to reach out to an urgent care clinic providing care for HIV-positive patients, dialysis patients, cancer patients," Versage said.
Lane County Public Health will be holding as mass vaccination drive for phase 1A. Only groups two and three of that phase can get access to one of the 7,400 doses.
There were also questions about the safety of the vaccine. Health officials on the panel reassured the public: the vaccine is safe and went through all of the proper trials to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).