It has been one year since the first COVID vaccine was administered in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — Dec. 16 marked one year since the COVID-19 vaccine became available to Oregonians. Now, here we are 12 months later and the push is on for boosters as the omicron variant spreads.

OHSU’s Dr. Ryan Thrower said she will never forget that day.

“We were all at the point where we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and that was kind of our first glimmer of light or hope,” she said.

On Dec. 16, 2020, Dr. Thrower gave her first COVID-19 vaccine during Gov. Kate Brown’s press conference.

Thrower was the first dental resident in the country to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.

It was a historic moment.

Bryan Goodin was also at that press conference. His team with Legacy Health also administered the shots.

For him, it was a day of celebration

“It was a busy day and I can’t believe it’s already been a year,” he said.

But Goodin admitted now that celebration was a bit premature. Where we are now is not where he thought we’d be a year ago despite the 1.8 million vaccine doses Legacy Health has given.

“We just in the U.S. hit 800,000 deaths, almost 800 were children, and in Oregon, we’ve hit more than 5,500 deaths and five of those were children,” he said. “There’s staff in every hospital in the state that are still working hard to the point of exhaustion.”

Like Goodin, Thrower thought this past year would have been different.

“I do not, unfortunately, feel like we are where I thought we would be but I do think we’re moving in the right direction,” she said.

In the next year, health care workers expect that more variants will likely arise and that COVID may stick around like the flu. However, officials say that staying proactive, even if we are collectively tired of it, will keep us on the right path.

“We have to keep with handwashing, ” said Goodin. “We have to keep masking – in health care we’re sick of masking – it’s critically important.”

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