Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is speeding up the schedule to extend access to the COVID-19 vaccine to all 65 years and older, as well as childcare providers and K-12 teachers and staff.
The federal government announced Tuesday that it is releasing the full supply of vaccine doses to states rather than withholding anything and lowering the eligible age to 65.
Brown responded Tuesday night by announcing that Oregonians 65 and older and people working in schools and early learning facilities may begin receiving doses on Jan. 23.
“While this is an unexpected change of course from the federal government, it is welcome news for states to receive more vaccines,”
Oregon has lagged behind other states and Brown’s own goal of vaccine rollout. The Oregon Health Authority is working with the National Guard and pharmacies to speed up dosing for those eligible in the first round – primarily health care providers, first aid workers and people in nursing homes and assisted living. The state has reported about 6,000 to 7,000 doses delivered per day; Brown will have the number up to 12,000.
In her statement Wednesday, Brown said she is confident the system will improve. Still, she urged people who will be eligible in the next round to be patient. She accused the Trump administration of some of the confusion.
“Please do not call your doctor or healthcare provider with questions about when you can be vaccinated,” Brown said. “Today’s news arrived without prior notice from the federal government. Oregon health care providers are working as quickly as humanly possible to shift their vaccine distribution plans to address this sudden change in national guidance. ”
Brown said she will reveal more details about Oregon’s accelerated distribution plan Friday.