Lack of federal vaccine reserve changes eligibility timeline for Oregonians

Salem, OR—Gov. Kate Brown today issued the following statement on new information about the federal reserve of COVID-19 vaccines:

“Last night, I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General Perna of Operation Warp Speed: States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses.

“I am demanding answers from the Trump Administration. I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences.

“This is a deception on a national scale. Oregon’s seniors, teachers, and all of us were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us.”

A copy of a letter that Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen sent to U.S. DHS Secretary Azar about this discrepancy is available here .

Gov. Brown held a press briefing today at 3 p.m. to discuss the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19. She said the state is forced to make difficult choices, including pushing back the date that seniors age 65+ become eligible for vaccination. Based on Oregon Health Authority’s updated timeline, eligibility will take place on:

  • Feb. 8 for people age 80+
  • Feb. 15 for people age 75+
  • Feb. 22 for people age 70+
  • March 1 for people age 65+

The plan to vaccinate Oregon’s education personnel – people who work in child care, early learning and k-12 settings – has shifted only slightly. Eligibility for this group begins on Jan. 25. The decision to vaccinate education employees before seniors was based on several factors, including the relatively small size of the education population and the fact that it is an organized group, making it easier to vaccinate quickly and move on to seniors and other groups.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said that while the expected surge of vaccine is not coming, he is generally confident that Operation Warp Speed will continue to provide vaccine in the same capacity that it has thus far. He also said that the state’s current supply includes second doses – or boosters – for people who have already received their first dose.

“We, like Gov. Brown and so many others, are disappointed by today’s news. We will adjust for the new timeline and remain committed to utilizing all of our available resources to vaccinate our most vulnerable citizens as quickly as possible,” Malheur County Health Department Director Sarah Poe said.

OHA has updated its vaccine information site to include information by county and how to determine who is eligible. Visit https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov

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