Oregon: COVID-19 vaccine plan for seniors to take longer than expected

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. —Jackson County says it has enough vaccines to do next week’s 2nd vaccination clinic at the Expo.

But in a press conference today, Governor Kate Brown said next week’s plan to begin vaccinating seniors, could take much longer.

Oregon’s plan to begin vaccinating seniors 80 and older next Monday, is hitting a snag.

The state does not have as many vaccines as it had hoped.

“Next week, when seniors begin to be eligible, we will see some degree of chaos, next week many older adults will inevitably voice frustration, next week you will not have to look hard for to experience people experiencing confusion,” says Patrick Allen, Oregon Health Authority Director.

“We are still managing scarce resources there is not enough vaccine yet to give everyone who is eligible a shot when they are ready,” says Governor Brown.

More than 700,000 Oregonians will become eligible to get vaccinated in the next four weeks.

By early April, the state says it expects to have enough vaccines to administer the first dose to 75% of all eligible groups of people in Oregon, including seniors.

Then the state hopes to start vaccinating people in another phase 1b groups.

Starting Monday the Covid Vaccine Oregon site will include a new tool called Get Vaccinated Oregon.

Its job, to help people determine eligibility and to sign up for alerts, seniors looking for help navigating the process can also call 211 for assistance.

Governor Brown is also deploying 30 National Guard members to ensure phone lines won’t get backed up.

“Our National Guards members have already helped in extraordinary ways having administered more than 44,000 vaccines to Oregonians,” says Governor Brown.

Guard members aided the mass clinics in Jackson and Josephine counties last month.

The announcement from the state will not affect next week’s 2nd round of the clinic.

Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames says the county will still be able to give the 2nd dose next week.

“We vaccinated 7200 people over 3 days in Jackson County and they had a successful clinic in Josephine County as well,” says Dr. Shames.

He says patience for seniors will be key in the coming weeks.

“Take a big breath slow down, relax, it been a year it may be a year and another week that people might have to wait but the commitment is completely there on the local level with our medical partners from the state to get these high-risk folks vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Dr. Shames.

People can also call 211, text ORCOVID to 898211, or email [email protected] for more information on where to get the vaccine.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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