Under new program, some Oregon centers can vaccinate anyone

In this Jan. 10, 2021, file photo, medical professionals from Oregon Health & Science University load syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore. Oregon health officials and vaccine advisory committee have made critical, and often controversial, decisions about which groups of people should be prioritized next for the COVID-19 vaccine amid limited supply. Under a new pilot program this week, at least seven federally qualified health centers in Oregon are now able to inoculate whoever they want, even if that patient does not fall into currently eligible categories
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has begun a pilot program that allows some federally qualified health centers to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone they serve, even if that patient does not fall into any currently eligible categories.

These centers must still prioritize patients who are currently eligible under Oregon rules, but the pilot program gives health care providers for the most at-risk populations more latitude and resolves a conflict between federal and state priorities on vaccine equity.

The Oregon Health Authority says the aim is to reach populations most affected by COVID-19 quickly.

The centers, which serve vulnerable populations such as farmworkers, are petitioning Washington to do the same.

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