Governor Brown addresses the COVID-19 vaccination timeline and the federal reserve
Governor Kate Brown addressed the updated COVID-19 vaccination timeline and the new information on the federal reserve of vaccines on Friday. She and Director Patrick Allen of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that, starting Jan. 25th, Oregon teachers will begin receiving vaccinations ahead before seniors who are not living in long term care facilities.
This change comes after the federal government said there are no federal reserves of vaccines to give to states in order for them to increase their vaccination operations.
“Last night, I received disturbing news, confirmed to me directly by General Perna of Operation Warp Speed. States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week because there is no federal reserve of doses,” said the governor in a statement. “This is a deception on a national scale. Oregon’s seniors, teachers and all of us were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us.”
Oregon had changed its vaccine timeline because of the promise of extra doses. OHA was hoping these doses would allow them to vaccinate seniors and teachers simultaneously. However, without the reserves, they were forced to decide which group to prioritize.
“As I’ve said for months, one of my main priorities is getting our kids back to in-person instruction, and to protect our educational staff to help achieve this goal,” Brown said. “Starting the week of January 25th, we will begin vaccinations of our educators and school staff. In some counties, this may even start sooner.”
Following the vaccination of teachers, the state will start the vaccination of seniors who are 80 years and older on Feb. 8th. In the weeks following, it will open availability to individuals 75 years and older, then to individuals 70 and older, and finally to individuals 65 and older.
Allen said part of the reason for the prioritization of teachers is because there is a set number of teachers. They know who will need vaccinations and it is logistically easier to vaccinate 100,000 teachers because school districts know who their teachers are, so there is no grey area on who is and is not getting a vaccine in this group.
With seniors, it is a little more difficult because that population is constantly changing, and they are in charge of scheduling their own appointments, said Allen.
Oregon is currently vaccinating healthcare workers and patients in long-term care facilities.