Oregon speeds up COVID-19 vaccine timeline — again

Mar 26, 2021
Originally published on March 26, 2021 1:34 pm

Another week and another big promise from the Biden administration has Oregon speeding up its coronavirus vaccine timeline once again.

Gov. Kate Brown’s office announced Friday morning that frontline workers, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all adults 16 and older with underlying health conditions will be eligible for vaccine appointments starting April 5. That’s a full two weeks earlier than the previous timeline, which was announced just last Friday. All Oregon adults will be eligible for vaccines by May 1.

All Oregon adults will be eligible for vaccines by May 1, but counties can apply to start vaccinating the general public sooner. Approved counties can start vaccinating all Oregonians 16 and older as soon as April 26.

Miles Eshaia, with the UFCW Local 555, said it’s only fair grocery workers get quick access to the vaccine. “This is a step in the right direction because essential employees have been on the frontline of this pandemic the entire time,” said Eshaia.

The announcement comes after President Joe Biden said he wants 200 million COVID-19 vaccines administered by his 100th day in office.

“With so many counties across Oregon ready to begin the next phases of vaccination, I am accelerating our vaccination timelines statewide rather than proceeding county-by-county,” Brown said in a press release.

Twenty-two counties wrote to the Oregon Health Authority in the past week, saying that they’d largely finished vaccinating all seniors who wanted shots. That allowed those counties to move onto the next priority group — which includes adults 45 and older with underlying health conditions, pregnant people, people experiencing homelessness and others — ahead of schedule.

OHA Director Patrick Allen said that by June, the state wants to inoculate all Oregon adults who want the vaccine.

Oregon had fully vaccinated 14% of its population as of Friday. Two-thirds of Oregon seniors are fully vaccinated; the state ranks 35th in the nation for vaccinating seniors. Oregon has reported nearly 163,000 cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 2,370 people.

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