SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority on Monday launched a new digital dashboard, tracking both statewide and county progress toward vaccination goals outlined by Governor Kate Brown as necessary before coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Brown announced on May 11 two parallel paths toward reopening, one at the state level and another for individual counties, both hinging on vaccination rates. Statewide, Brown said, most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted when 70 percent of adults receive at least one dose of a vaccine.
For individual counties, reaching 65 percent of people 16 or older with at least one dose translates to a move to Lower Risk restrictions, with the earliest opportunity beginning May 21. Counties must also submit a plan for closing vaccine equity gaps to be eligible.
The new dashboard reveals that, statewide, vaccinations are gradually climbing close to Brown's benchmark, with 62 percent of the required 70 percent completed. But at the county level, large gaps in vaccination rates have emerged over time.
Two counties — Benton and Hood River — have already surpassed the 65 percent vaccination goal, and will be dropped to Lower Risk on May 21. A handful of other counties are nearing the mark; including Multnomah, Washington, and Lincoln.
Vaccination rates are generally lower in southern Oregon, though largely higher than most of the rural eastern Oregon counties. As of Monday, Curry County stood at 47.8 percent, Josephine at 41.5 percent, Jackson at 47.6 percent, Klamath at 41 percent, and Lake at 31.8 percent — with Lake claiming the lowest vaccination rate in the state.
Because of the major difference in southern Oregon county populations, those percentages represent wildly different numbers in terms of the amount of people needed to receive a dose before reaching 65 percent. Jackson County, for instance, would need to see 31,172 more people get the shot in order to qualify. In Josephine County, that number stood at 17,102, and 13,555 in Klamath. Curry County would only need 3,502 more people, and Lake would need 2,335.
In terms of number of people who would still need to become vaccinated in order to reach the 65 percent goal, Jackson County is the second-highest in the state, trailing only Marion County where 34,495 people would need to get a shot.