PORTLAND, Ore. — The first doses of a coronavirus vaccine have arrived in Oregon, one day ahead of the anticipated timeline, the Oregon Health Authority announced on Monday.
Governor Kate Brown and state officials said in previous statements that they expected the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to ship December 15. But with rapid movement in the FDA approval process over the weekend, the first shipment went out slightly ahead of schedule.
"In recent weeks, as COVID-19 vaccines reached the final stages of approval, I have said time and again that hope is on the way. Today, I can tell you that help is here," said Governor Kate Brown. "The first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Oregon, the first of many that will be distributed across the state. Starting with the frontline health care workers who have been our first line of defense against COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and the long-term care facility residents who are among the most vulnerable, each day, more and more Oregonians will be vaccinated against this disease."
OHA said that Legacy Health is the first registered COVID-19 vaccine provider in the state to receive the vaccine. The health provider's sites at Holladay Park in Portland and Meridian Park in Tualatin each received a package of 975 doses around 7 a.m. on Monday morning.
Additional doses are expected at three other locations in Oregon on Tuesday, OHA said. Oregon Health & Science University Pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente’s Airport Way Center in Portland, and St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario also are each slated to receive 975-dose packages of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The remaining 30,225 doses from this first shipment will be distributed to hospitals around the state, and are expected to arrive sometime this week. 10,725 doses will be going to skilled nursing facilities for vaccinations that start next week.
In Phase 3 clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine proved to be 95 percent effective. In most people, side-effects were "mild to moderate," OHA said.
"The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, but we will be in this tunnel for several months," said OHA director Patrick Allen, emphasizing that vaccinations are still months away for most Oregonians. "We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing to help our friends, neighbors and ourselves stay safe."