Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout

OREGON.- Oregon is one of the slowest states to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination according to a report from Bloomberg.

That means of the vaccine doses the state has received, many just haven’t made it to any arms yet.

“When the vaccine arrived, it was ‘we’re live!’,” said Tom Hottman with Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls. He says they prepared ahead of time to ensure a smooth vaccine roll out.

“Sky Lakes has been proactive about precautions generally, whether its wearing a mask and observing physical distancing. The vaccination is another tool in that kit.”

According to the Oregon Health Authority, Klamath County has the highest amount of people vaccinated per 10,000 in at about 135. In fact, Sky Lakes says it can even start to offer vaccination to community health professionals who don’t work at the center.

“We are going through them pretty quickly, we have enough that we can take care of other health care professionals in the community,” said Hottman.

But Sky Lakes and Klamath County are the exception to the rule in Oregon. Numbers from the OHA show while the state has received more than 130,000 doses of the Pfizer and modern vaccines, just over 20% of that supply has been administered to health care workers.

According to a Bloomberg report, Oregon’s vaccine rollout is one of the lowest in the country.

Jonathan Modie with the OHA says the delays are due to a number of reasons.

“Really a steady flow of vaccines around the country. And that’s why sometimes we see adjustments of the allocations we were initially given,” he explained. He says federal officials are constantly adjusting the allotment each state gets, making it difficult to maintain a steady and predictable flow.

“Each provider is making its own decisions on how to get the vaccine out to those who are within that Phase 1A group,” Modie said.

Even when centers get doses of the vaccine, they have to be mindful of when and where to administer them, to follow guidelines and keep workers safe. And there are hurdles with the vaccines themselves.

The Pfizer vaccine needs ultra-cold storage and facilities need to read up on all the detailed information that comes with the vaccines They also have to be aware of possible side effects, especially with health care workers.

But Modie says the state is looking forward to what they call the “vaccine velocity”.

“I think we will see the capacity to provide vaccines ramp up pretty dramatically in the coming weeks,” he said.  He says as they begin to understand the vaccine and gain more provider partners the rollout should quicken.

“It’s exciting that every week we get more providers and increase our capacity to get the vaccines out there.”

This isn’t just a Oregon issue either. According to the Center for Disease Control, as of Wednesday less than a quarter of the doses sent out in the U.S. have been administered.

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