So. Oregon counties detail plans to reach state’s 65% county vaccination goal

MEDFORD, Ore. – On Tuesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown outlined how the state will reopen. She says at least 70% of the state needs to be vaccinated to reopen the economy. But she also is setting goals for individual counties to show how they can get to the state’s lower risk tier and open up more. Gov. Brown said each county can go to the lower risk tier by vaccinating 65% of its 16 years and older population. Both Jackson and Klamath Co. Public Health told NBC5 News they’re nowhere near that. They said they’re trying to reach the goal by doing outreach to help the community understand how effective and safe it is.

There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but Oregon is not at the finish line yet. Gov. Brown laid out her statewide reopening plan it requires 70% of Oregonians 16 and up to be vaccinated.

“I think the state is currently at 57%. The expectation is by July we will be there,” said Dr. Jim Shames.

But Gov. Brown also is giving individual counties their own goals to reach the state’s lower risk tier.

Step one – she said 65% of a county’s 16 and up population, needs to be vaccinated. Public health officials told NBC5 the key to their success is outreach.

“We’re not, all the same, we have different needs and focuses,” said Dr. Shames.

Jackson Co. currently has about 46% vaccinated fully or almost fully vaccinated. Public Health Director, Dr. Shames said vaccine equity has been a priority.

“When you can sit down one-on-one with some folks you can, you really can move them a bit closer to understand issues around the vaccine,” said Dr. Shames.

Josephine Co. Public Health was unable to do an interview Wednesday but tells me 34% of the population is at least partially vaccinated.

Klamath Co. is hovering around 40%. Public Health’s Valeree Lane said the county is taking steps to improve upon that number.

“We’re taking the next month, our commissioners have granted us a month proclamation it’s vaccination awareness month in Klamath Co.”

But reaching the county 65% vaccination rate is only one step. Counties also need to develop and submit a plan that will close the equity gaps within vaccination efforts Counties will also be eligible for more assistance from the state as they go through the process.

Health officials said they just hope people do their research with creditable sources, like a physician or pharmacist.

“This is about personal choice and also about making informed decisions. And at the end of the day, that’s what public health is here for,” said Lane.

FEMA and other organizations are currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine at the Jackson County Expo for people from across Oregon. It is free. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine call your local public health officials.

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