By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Oregon health officials on Friday said the state would love to meet President Biden’s timeline for making everyone eligible for the COVID vaccine, but the effort is dependent on increased federal shipments.
“Until we get more clarity, we need to keep our current timeline in place,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said during a morning news conference with the governor. “No one in the federal government has given us hard numbers on what we can expect and when. We don’t have more doses we can order.”
Biden, in an address to the nation on Wednesday, called for all Americans to be eligible for the COVID vaccine by May 1st.
That timeline doesn’t jibe with the Oregon timeline, which calls for everyone here to be eligible by July 1st.
Gov. Kate Brown called the president’s plan “audacious” and assured Oregonians that if vaccine shipments increased, she would use every resource available to match the president’s timeline.
“Our plan in Oregon has always been to align our vaccination timeline with available federal supplies,” she said. “As weekly shipment allocations increase, we will reassess those timelines.”
Allen said the state’s current allocation is about 126,000 first-doses a week. He said the state would need to receive about 200,000 doses per week to make everyone eligible by June. That number would need to be 400,000 per week if we want to be able to meet Biden’s timeline.
To date, more than 1.23 million vaccines have been administered statewide – including more than 53,000 in Central Oregon. Of that total, 445,624 are considered “fully vaccinated.”
Brown said the state was now 47% through vaccinating all Oregonians 65+ and over halfway through those 75+.
She said with three vaccines available now, Oregon is vaccinating an average of 24,000 people a day.
The state is still on track to begin vaccinating anyone 45+ with underlying conditions beginning on March 29th.