SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's vaccination efforts will expand to include people 65 and older, childcare providers, and school staff beginning January 23, Governor Kate Brown announced on Tuesday.
Brown's office attributed the acceleration to updated guidance from the CDC, and news that the federal government will release its full reserves of vaccine doses to the states instead of holding them in storage.
Those additional federal shipments are expected to begin arriving on January 23, providing the impetus to include seniors, child care providers and early learning and K-12 educators and staff.
“While this is an unexpected change in course from the federal government, receiving more vaccines is welcome news for states — and Oregon is ready to devote all resources necessary to ramp up distribution with our health care partners,” said Governor Brown. “The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon National Guard have already begun working with hospitals, pharmacies, and local public health partners to ensure Oregon seniors and educators have ready access to a vaccine. We will be detailing plans on Friday for the rapid deployment of vaccines to health care providers and mass vaccination sites across Oregon.
“If you are an Oregonian who is newly eligible for vaccination, I am asking for your patience. Please, do not call your doctor’s office or health care provider with questions about when you can be vaccinated. Today’s news arrived with no advance notice from the federal government. Oregon health care providers are working as fast as humanly possible to shift their vaccine distribution plans to meet this sudden change in national guidance.
“Now, more than ever, I am determined to ensure that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 have access to a vaccine: Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, tribal, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, and communities of color. Reaching educators and individuals aged 65 and older from these communities is absolutely critical, as we strive to achieve equitable vaccine distribution in each phase of this process.”
Brown's office said that she and the Oregon Health Authority would provide more details on the state's plan to distribute vaccines for seniors and educators on Friday.
Before Tuesday's announcement, Oregon was still largely focusing on vaccinations for the first groups in Phase 1a — largely medical staff, first responders, and the residents and staff at certain long-term care facilities.