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All Oregonians 16 And Up Will Be Eligible For The COVID-19 Vaccine Beginning April 19

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

The change comes as Oregon tries to hold off a fourth-wave of the virus.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is once again speeding up the state’s timeline for COVID-19 vaccines.

In a press release early Tuesday, Brown announced that all Oregonians 16 and up will become eligible for vaccines as of April 19, nearly two weeks earlier than state officials had previously announced.

“Today, Oregon will pass the threshold of 2 million vaccine doses administered. And yet, in communities across Oregon, COVID-19 is spreading at concerning rates,” Brown said in a statement. “We must move as quickly as possible to get more shots in arms.”

The announcement comes as Oregon has repeatedly sped up its timeline for vaccine eligibility in recent days. On Monday, frontline workers gained access to the shots, along with adults who live with them.

“Over the next two weeks, we will dedicate all available resources to ensure Oregon’s frontline workers and people with underlying conditions have access to vaccines –– two groups in which Oregonians from communities of color are predominantly represented,” Brown said. “My office will work closely with the White House to ensure Oregon receives our fair share of federal vaccine supplies, so we can continue with a fast, fair, and equitable vaccine distribution process.”

Oregon’s adjustment in the vaccination timeline mirrors an expected acceleration at the national level. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that President Joe Biden is expected to announce all American adults 16 and older nationwide will be eligible for vaccines starting April 19.

Along with other states, Oregon has seen an uptick in new infections and hospitalizations in recent weeks, giving rise to concerns about a “fourth wave” of the pandemic. The numbers are still well below a peak the state experienced in late 2020.

Dirk VanderHart is JPR's Salem correspondent reporting from the Oregon State Capitol. His reporting is funded through a collaboration among public radio stations in Oregon and Washington that includes JPR.