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Oregon officials preparing for vaccine delivery, but many challenges remain

Governor Brown announced last week that the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses are anticipated for delivery to Oregon on December 15.

Posted: Dec 11, 2020 12:26 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2020 12:54 PM

SALEM, Ore. — At a press conference on Friday morning, Governor Kate Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority shared some good news on the state's current coronavirus status, while driving home the need for continued precautions for the foreseeable future.

State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger indicated that, while Oregon has continued to see upticks in COVID-19 cases, the anticipated surge from Thanksgiving gatherings has not materialized. Regardless, OHA has continued to mark record daily and weekly case loads, hospitalizations, and deaths from the virus.

Governor Brown announced last week that the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses are anticipated for delivery to Oregon on December 15 — to be followed by thousands more doses over the next several weeks. The state expects to receive 147,000 doses by the end of December.

The FDA advisory committee charged with evaluating vaccines released a statement on Friday reporting a "positive" outcome for the first COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech. The committee said that it had "informed the sponsor that it will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization" and shared the information with the CDC and Operation Warp Speed.

Friday's briefing did not include any material changes to the timeline, but Brown remarked that the state would need to perform 10,000 vaccinations per day once the doses arrive in order to use all of them by the end of the year. Health care workers, the staff and residents of long-term care facilities are still going to be prioritized to receive the vaccine, and the state estimates that there are 330,000 health care workers in the state.

After distributing vaccines for inpatient care, Brown said that outpatient facilities — including behavioral health clinics — will be among the next wave. However there have been no guarantees of how many vaccine doses will be delivered to Oregon beyond the first 147,000, or when.

State officials are fighting an uphill battle against distrust of the vaccine, citing a September survey where only 4 in 10 of the Oregonians surveyed said that they would certainly get vaccinated. In order to reach "community immunity," an estimated three-fourths of Oregonians would need to be vaccinated, Brown said.

The Pfizer vaccine in particular also poses a unique supply-chain challenge, requiring ultra-cold storage to ensure efficacy. Both Asante and Providence in Medford confirmed on Friday that they have the necessary ultra-cold storage on-site, but health care providers in more rural areas of the state may lack the infrastructure to store the vaccine.

During Friday's briefing, a woman who contracted COVID-19 in March spoke to the seriousness of the virus, describing herself as a "COVID long-hauler" who has continued to experience life-altering symptoms nearly 10 months after she first fell sick.

Darrah Isaacson said that she grew up in Oregon, went to Southern Oregon University, and now lives in southeast Oregon. Isaacson turned 40 in March, and contracted the virus at that time. Though she and her family were healthy and active before she got the virus, Isaacson said that she can barely walk around the block now.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 345344

Reported Deaths: 4084
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54651678
Washington37724310
Marion35705439
Clackamas28835298
Lane26661291
Jackson22465297
Deschutes19252122
Umatilla14081139
Linn12200114
Douglas11664238
Josephine9174191
Yamhill8438108
Klamath7549106
Polk707380
Malheur542374
Benton521531
Coos481591
Columbia368143
Jefferson355650
Union309944
Lincoln306033
Wasco275839
Crook263643
Clatsop238027
Baker195628
Tillamook191926
Hood River186036
Morrow180223
Curry177019
Harney106424
Grant96512
Lake86910
Wallowa65712
Gilliam1484
Sherman1453
Wheeler941
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4802761

Reported Deaths: 70456
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147341026379
Riverside3689534978
San Diego3631694151
San Bernardino3558485562
Orange3224975513
Sacramento1574982273
Santa Clara1443001886
Fresno1437452048
Kern1437161600
Alameda1197741365
San Joaquin1016431696
Ventura1004421162
Contra Costa99102969
Stanislaus849231310
Tulare78753945
San Francisco53974644
San Mateo53781618
Monterey50676582
Solano45734334
Santa Barbara44770518
Merced41680577
Sonoma40638400
Placer38813412
Imperial35591762
Kings32197312
San Luis Obispo29590330
Madera23420281
Butte23298257
Shasta23230334
Santa Cruz20830217
Yolo20092247
Marin17570243
El Dorado16947149
Sutter13762169
Napa12797100
Yuba992780
Tehama9240103
Humboldt9085108
Nevada902590
Mendocino751686
Lassen743743
San Benito735972
Tuolumne671793
Lake6499103
Amador536763
Siskiyou442742
Glenn429930
Calaveras380279
Del Norte355739
Colusa301618
Inyo194239
Mono16285
Plumas15476
Mariposa126215
Trinity85811
Modoc6678
Sierra1710
Unassigned1480
Alpine1020
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