SALEM, Ore. — Under Oregon's vaccine plan, seniors 75 and older became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, despite ongoing supply shortages that have prevented many areas of the state from accommodating seniors.
After making sudden adjustments to the vaccine plan in January, Governor Kate Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority opened up eligibility to childcare providers, K-12 teachers and school staff on January 25. Seniors 80 and older became eligible on February 8, with another group of seniors to be added each week through March 1.
State officials expressed optimism earlier this month that supply of the vaccine would soon begin meeting the demand from eligible groups — enough to allow three-quarters of them to get their first doses by early April. But at the local level, the roll-out to seniors has not become much of a reality as yet.
"We're meeting and we're figuring out what to do with the limited vaccine so that it is accessible and there isn't confusion about where people can get the vaccine," said Tanya Phillips with Jackson County Public Health. "It just may take them longer to get it than they would like."
Jackson County Public Health says that it will receive a total of 1,800 Moderna vaccine doses for next week, with 1,300 of those doses earmarked for people 75 and older.
"This allotment will be pushed out to other COVID-19 providers that will be vaccinating individuals 75 years and older," the agency said. "The extreme weather in the Northwest and all over the United States is causing delays in this week's vaccine shipment."
Jackson County's vaccine page has some links for providers that are offering appointments at present.
Some of the pressure on local public health agencies and healthcare providers should begin to ease as retail pharmacies participating in the federal vaccine program begin receiving more shipments.
Currently, appointments at these retail pharmacies are exceedingly scarce. Roughly 5,000 appointments have been scheduled at 127 participating pharmacies statewide, but many of these locations have received only 100 doses. They report that more doses are supposed to be on the way.
For the time being, these three retail pharmacies are set to offer (limited) appointments:
A representative for Safeway/Albertsons told NewsWatch 12 that they anticipate having more appointments available on Thursday.