Oregon announces new vaccine eligibility groups, timeline

OREGON- Today, state officials updated Oregon’s vaccine eligibility timeline and while they are hopeful to offer the vaccine completely by summer, it all depends on federal rollout.

Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority laying out the future of vaccine eligibility in their most expansive timeline yet.

“For the first time since the pandemic started, we can provide a timeline that will tell every adult Oregonian a date by which he or she will be able to get vaccinated,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. The next group will be eligible on March 29th.

Allen says this decision comes after the steady progress of vaccinating seniors in Oregon.

“We expect to have been allocated enough vaccines to immunize at least 75% of seniors by March 29th, weeks ahead of our original timelines,” he explained.

The new eligibility groups and timelines were established with CDC guidelines and the advice of the state’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.

“We looked at who’s at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill, where have we seen the most frequent and prolific outbreaks, where can we address the worst inequities that this pandemic has exposed and intensified,” said Rachel Banks, Director of OHA’s Public Health Division.

Governor Brown seems hopeful that the state can offer vaccines to everyone who wants one, no later than the beginning of July. But that depends on the federal delivery of vaccine doses.

“While that gives us all a reason to breath a sigh of relief, it should also serve as a reminder that the finish line is in sight and we cannot let up,” Governor Brown said.

Jackson County Public Heath says so far the federal vaccine supply chain is sparse. But the county’s medical director Dr. Jim Shames seems hopeful that the potential approval of the 1-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will provide a spark to the nation’s rollout.

“There are a lot of people out there that have a hard time getting to a place with refrigeration for a vaccine, or are able to go and get a second shot,” Dr. Shames said.

Beginning March 29, the following groups of Oregonians will be eligible for vaccination:
• Adults age 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions as defined by the CDC
• Seasonally-impacted frontline workers, such as migrant seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, and food processing workers
• Currently displaced victims of the September 2020 wildfires
• Wildland firefighters
• People living in low-income and congregate senior housing
• Individuals experiencing houselessness

No later than May 1, the following groups of Oregonians will be eligible:
• All other frontline workers as defined by the CDC
• Individuals age 16-45 with underlying health conditions
• Multigenerational household members

No later than June 1, Phase 2 of vaccination will begin with all adults aged 45 to 64. And, no later than July 1, all Oregonians 16 and over will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

To see the most detailed graphic about eligibility groups, click here. To read the exhaustive list by the CDC, click here. 

Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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