The Oregon Health Authority says Deschutes County is on track to meet its 65% vaccination rate goal by next Friday.
Hitting that mark would send the county to the Lower Risk category and loosen up COVID restrictions on restaurant and other business capacities among other things.
But Deschutes County’s health director told county commissioners Wednesday that reaching the goal could lead to a leveling off of vaccination rates moving forward.
“I believe it’s a very low bar and one that we can achieve immediately,” said Nahad Sadr-Azodi. “And it might send the wrong message to our community members that the job is done.”
The current vaccination rate in Deschutes County is 61%
Sadr-Azodi also pointed out the benchmark is 65% of the total eligible adult population, which could lead to equity gaps.
Commissioner Phil Chang said he thought the goal was a step in the right direction and could provide the incentive some need to get the shot.
“Just to know that your community can start to function more normally if we can hit these thresholds, I hope is going to motivate those remaining thousands of people who haven’t gotten vaccinated yet to come in,” he said.
Commissioners are now drafting a plan to close the vaccine equity gaps and make sure everyone who wants one can get one.
That’s the other piece required along with the 65% goal for counties to move back to the lower risk level.