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Health and Medicine

Oregon Vaccine Rollout Too Slow, Says Gov. Kate Brown

COVID vaccine.jpg
Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB
CVS Pharmacist Jordan Tran prepares a shot as he helps give Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at Rose Villa in Portland. Despite big headlines when inoculation efforts launched in mid-December, Oregon has fallen behind its goals for vaccinations.

The Oregon governor wants the state to vaccinate 12,000 people a day by the end of the next two weeks. “Let me be clear: we must vaccinate Oregonians as quickly as possible. Oregon families, schools, and businesses are counting on rapid vaccine distribution. We all are,” Gov. Kate Brown said in the statement.

Vaccination efforts in Oregon and across the country have been far from smooth. Unreliable shipments, uneven distribution, holidays, and issues with cold-storage have slowed the state’s efforts to vaccinate 300,000 healthcare workers.

Oregon planned to vaccinate 100,000 people by the end of December. Despite repeated assurances from the Oregon Health Authority that the goal was attainable, as of Dec. 30, just 31,000 doses had been administered.

Still, Brown says that Oregon has administered roughly the same number of vaccinations per capita as other states.

The slow rollout threatens Oregon’s plans to reopen schools by Feb. 15. Teachers have been identified to be among the first essential workers to be vaccinated, once all healthcare workers who want the shot have received it.

If Oregon can administer 12,000 doses per day, Brown said the state would be on-track to administer all vaccines the week they are delivered.

”OHA will be working with health care providers, pharmacies, and local public health partners to streamline the distribution process to achieve that goal,” Brown said.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting