Despite Oregon opening vaccine eligibility to some seniors, local supply isn't meeting demand

Though Governor Brown set February 8 as the date seniors 80 and older would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, local vaccine providers aren't ready to meet the new influx of eligible people.

Posted: Feb 8, 2021 10:21 AM
Updated: Feb 8, 2021 5:32 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Monday marks the beginning of Oregon opening coronavirus vaccine eligibility to seniors age 80 and older, but vaccine providers on the local level say that they won't immediately be able to serve this new group.

Asante representative Lauren Van Sickle said on Monday that the healthcare provider — one of the largest recipients of vaccines in Jackson and Josephine counties — is not able to vaccinate people in the 65 or older group right now, as efforts to vaccinate Phase 1A, childcare workers and school staff remain underway.

Van Sickle also underlined that the upcoming vaccination events at the Expo and the Josephine County Fairgrounds are still limited to second doses for the same groups that received their shots in January.

"We know that Governor Brown opened it up to older ages, but we do not have the vaccine supply at this time," Van Sickle said. "Sadly, an 80 year old woman showed up at The Expo this morning for her shot because the governor said vaccinations are available."


RELATED: Asante administers second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine


In a press conference on Friday, Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen reiterated the schedule for expanded eligibility to seniors — also providing a new, optimistic prediction that 75 percent of all eligible groups, including seniors, would be able to receive their first doses by early April.

Brown and Allen attributed that outlook to an expected surge in vaccines provided by the Biden administration, but it was unclear when precisely those added doses would begin arriving in Oregon.

Allen admitted that there would be "some degree of chaos" beginning this week as seniors become eligible, acknowledging that availability of the vaccine will vary by county or provider, and presaging that many seniors and their families would be "frustrated" initially in trying to secure a vaccination appointment.

"Jackson County can vaccinate this age group, it is just that the vaccine supply is very limited," said Tanya Phillips with Jackson County Public Health. "Therefore not everyone will be able to get vaccinated when they would like to."

Availability of the vaccine to eligible groups has been markedly different by area, even in southern Oregon. Klamath County began offering vaccine appointments to some seniors 80 and older over the weekend, prior to official eligibility, though public health officials said that these events would not serve everyone. In Klamath County, as in Jackson and Josephine, supply of the vaccine remains an issue.

Some retail pharmacies in southern Oregon are also supposed to begin receiving doses of the vaccine this week, which will be available by appointment to groups eligible under Oregon's plan. As of Monday, Safeway and Albertsons did not have any appointments available.

"We understand people want to get vaccinated; that’s our goal, too!" Van Sickle said. "When supply is allocated, we’ll keep the shots coming."

The Oregon Health Authority on Monday launched several new tools intended to help the approximately 168,000 Oregonians 80 and older find information about vaccines. One tool helps people find out if they are eligible and then directs them to info about vaccines at the local level. Another helps people find a vaccination appointment, but only in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia or Marion counties.

Oregonians can aso call 211, text ORCOVID to 898211, or email ORCOVID@211info.org for more information about vaccine clinics.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 35°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Medford
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 35°
Medford
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 35°
Klamath Falls
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 29°
Very mild start to March
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events