Governor says Oregonians aged 65+ and teachers can be vaccinated against COVID-19 from January 23

Under Pressure Federal officials announced Tuesday that Kate Brown would allow 65 and more Oregonians to qualify. COVID-19 Vaccinations from January 23 – at least a month earlier than expected.

Brown also said he would start getting childcare, preschool and K-12 school staff of his own choosing Vaccines On the same day, what will be the unprecedented wave of people looking for vaccines in a state where it is difficult to quickly manage footage.

Brown’s decision to expand immunizations to older Oregonians was in response to a request from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary of State Alex Azar the previous day that all states start vaccinating Americans 65 or older, and those with basic conditions are at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

Azhar said the federal government would no longer hold a second dose before sending vaccines – and that it would release more doses to send to states to vaccinate this new group of vulnerable Americans.

“While this is an unexpected change from the federal government, getting more vaccines is welcome news for the states – and Oregon is ready to dedicate all necessary resources to increase supply with our health partners,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday evening. Announces change of eligibility.

Programs are already underway, “to make sure Oregon seniors and educators are ready for the vaccine,” he added. Brown did not plan to prioritize Oregonians with basic conditions at this time.

The abrupt change from Brown follows other states that have already outlined plans to vaccinate seniors, and this comes without a clear expectation of how many more vaccines Oregon will receive from the federal government in the coming weeks. A spokesman for Brown said he did not know how many additional doses would come in Oregon, which was expected to exceed 1.1 million from December to February, setting the potential for widespread demand, but the vaccine size was not enough.

Oregon has been off to a sluggish start since it started vaccinating Oregonians last month. As part of Phase 1a there is a limited eligibility for 500,000 Oregonians, mostly including health workers and residents of long-term care facilities, but also others, including prison and prison staff and veterinary care workers.

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Brown and Oregon Health Authority officials opposed the idea of ​​allowing seniors to be vaccinated later next month, saying teachers and school staff would be the next priority and other recommendations would be made by the advisory board.

Brown changed course on Tuesday, but did not provide any details on where the soon-to-be-qualified Oregonians could go to get vaccinated. State leaders are still working on an organization to get information. Brown is expected to provide additional details Friday.

“If you’re a newly vaccinated Oregonite, I ask for your patience,” Brown said. “Please do not call your doctor’s office or healthcare provider with questions about when you can be vaccinated. Today’s news came without any prior notice from the Central Government. Oregon healthcare providers are acting as humanely as possible to change their vaccine distribution plans to meet this abrupt change in national guidance. ”

For now, Brown does not plan to listen to federal guidance and prioritize basic conditions for Oregonians, with a population estimated at 1.6 million.

“At this point, a lot of people are not getting enough vaccines,” spokesman Charles Boyle said in an email to The Oregon / Oregon Live. “But we will work with partners and develop distribution plans so that we can be ready to start vaccinating Oregonians with basic health conditions.

Of course, the newly expanded guidelines will significantly increase the number of residents eligible for vaccinations. The governor’s office estimates there are 100,000 childcare, preschool and K-12 workers in the state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 768,000 people aged 65 and over in Oregon. At most, about 21,000 of them have already qualified as part of Phase 1a because they live in long-term care facilities.

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That means an additional 850,000 Oregonians will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine from Jan. 23.

This will put great pressure on the already exaggerated vaccination system. Statewide, 115,060 doses of Pfizer-Bioentech and Modern vaccines are in the hands of residents, in 321,425 doses, so far shipped to Oregon, the CDC says. About 36% of the available stocks have been used – a significant improvement from the 25% used a week ago.

Oregon’s initial release has been affected With useless planning Nurses have been receiving footage since Dec. 16, but state officials say reforms are underway. Over the past week, an average of 7,600 doses have been administered each day. The governor has set a target of 12,000 a day by next week, but agreed that this pace should be significantly increased in the coming weeks.

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Commission, said that with 12,000 daily views a day, 70% of the state’s population – about 3 million people – will be vaccinated by 2022 with two dose regimens of the vaccine. Achieving herd immunity is at least seventy percent, according to some public health experts, as the virus is actively prevented from spreading easily throughout the community.

Older residents are at higher risk for COVID-19 or life-altering and lasting effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 80% of Americans who die are 65 years of age or older. In the past week, 85% of 110 Oregonians have reported death, aged 65 or over.

Union President John Larson said the Oregon Education Association, a union representing 44,000 educators, did not urge the governor to prioritize academics over seniors. He said seniors were at higher risk of dying than academics as a whole. Although all school staff have been vaccinated, he does not believe classrooms should be opened because students will not be. The vaccines are not approved for children under 16, and they can bring the virus home to their families, he said.

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“It is irresponsible that people can return in person because it endangers the safety of students and staff,” Larson said.

Larsen said he thinks only those who have already been pushed into their classrooms in a select number of school districts should be vaccinated now.

On Tuesday the news that Brown would soon be vaccinating seniors was enthusiastically celebrated by many old Oregonians.

Mike Chisavic, 82, who lives in Portland, said he and his 80-year-old wife are eagerly waiting for access to the vaccine. It was hard to see and wait – without any information about when they would arrive in line.

Although Sisavic was both in good health and very active, they partially thought of the opportunity to move into a senior living facility temporarily, so they would qualify for the vaccine in phase 1a. When Chisavic discovered that his physical therapist’s staff and the clinic staff working on the phones were going to be vaccinated soon, he asked, “How did you tell me to hire you for a few hours?”

The advice recently given by the governor and the heads of the Oregon Health Commission last week – that seniors should hang tight and stay at home undermining until their turns come – seems impractical. He said that despite the precautionary measures taken by Sisavik and his wife, they could still be infected with the virus. He is on a softball team. His wife regularly plays tennis. When restaurants are open, they will support them. Now they are taking out.

“We live as long as we can,” Sisovic said.

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– Amy Green; [email protected]; _o_aimee

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