Jefferson and Crook Counties are among the counties needing big boosts in vaccination rates before they can move to the lower risk category.
But leaders in their two biggest towns – despite some skepticism of the vaccine – say the governor’s goal of 65% is within reach.
“I am just happy that governor Brown is finally reaching out to people and is giving us hope and giving us a chance to heal,” said Madras Mayor Richard Ladeby.
Ladeby says businesses are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I know our citizens and business are waiting to be ready to open up,” Ladeby added.
While Deschutes County is expected to reach the 65%goal by next week, Jefferson and Crook County have a ways to go.
Jefferson County’s vaccination rate is just 46%.
“I think we got some outlying people that are concerned and I think we need to address those concerns instead of ignoring or pushing them,” said Ladeby.
Crook County’s rate is even lower at 42%.
“A lot of people are against getting the vaccine it seems in our county,” said Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe.
Both Ladeby and Beebe say a 65% vaccination rate is attainable.
“I can’t tell business or people what to do personally,” said Beebe. “They have to choose that on their own and I support that because that is our freedom to do that.”
Beebe plans to discuss with City Council and Crook County Commissioners about how to proceed.
“We agree on things as a council and I will support whatever outcome comes of that,” Beebe added.
Ladeby and Beebe say their county’s public health departments do a good job getting the word out about getting the vaccine.
“If people want to get it then I encourage them to get it,” said Ladeby.
Ladeby was not comfortable saying whether he is vaccinated, while Beebe says he’s waiting for more research to decide whether he will get the shot.