Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is speeding up the schedule for expanding COVID-19 vaccine access to everyone 65 and older as well as to childcare providers and K-12 teachers and staff.
The federal government announced on Tuesday that it is releasing the full supply of vaccine doses to states rather than holding some back and lowering the eligibility age to 65.
Brown responded Tuesday evening by announcing that Oregonians 65 and older and people who work in schools and early learning facilities can begin receiving doses on Jan. 23.
“While this is an unexpected change in course from the federal government, receiving more vaccines is welcome news for states,” Brown said in a written statement.
Oregon has lagged behind other states and Brown’s own goal for vaccine rollout. The Oregon Health Authority is working with the National Guard and pharmacies to accelerate getting doses to people eligible in the first round -- primarily health care providers, emergency workers and people in nursing homes and assisted living. The state has been reporting around 6,000 to 7,000 doses delivered a day; Brown wants that number up to 12,000.
In her statement Wednesday, Brown said she’s confident the system is improving. Still, she urged people who will be eligible in the next round to be patient. She blamed the Trump administration for some of the confusion.
“Please, do not call your doctor’s office or health care provider with questions about when you can be vaccinated,” Brown said. “Today’s news arrived with no advance notice from the federal government. Oregon health care providers are working as fast as humanly possible to shift their vaccine distribution plans to meet this sudden change in national guidance.”
Brown said she’ll reveal more details on Oregon’s accelerated distribution plan Friday.