Despite early stumbles in the logistics of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Oregon health officials say the state is ready, willing and able to double the rate of shots going into Oregonians' arms.
Currently, about 24,000 vaccinations a day are being given in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority says it would increase that pace by distributing doses to local public health authorities, hospitals and pharmacies in March and April.
That plan matters because Oregon expects to start receiving vaccine doses at a far greater rate than it has so far this year. Whether the state can rapidly deliver that supply into arms—without the spectacular snafus that plagued Oregon's distribution to seniors—will determine when most adults get shots and when some semblance of normal life resumes.
As WW first reported last week, the Oregon Health Authority projects it could have doses for 70% of the adult population by April 21, if vaccine manufacturers keep to their promised schedule.
That matches the timeline of President Joe Biden, who has called on states to make everyone eligible for a vaccine by May 1.
As of press deadlines, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had declined to do so, instead taking a wait-and-see approach. Nor has she moved up the dates of eligibility for people younger than 65, including those with specific health conditions, farmworkers and manufacturing workers, who all become eligible March 29.
(Update: On Wednesday, March 17, OHA director Patrick Allen announced that the agency would make all Oregonians 16 and older eligible for a vaccination May 1.)
State health officials say that isn't because of any jitters over its ability to distribute a huge glut of shots. Instead, OHA says it is prepared to distribute whatever the feds provide.
"We are still on track to meet the projected April goal of receiving enough prime doses of the vaccines to vaccinate 70% of adults," says OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie. "We've been clear we want to advance our timelines, and we can move them up, if we receive enough doses from the federal government."
The date the Oregon Health Authority expects prime doses of COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Oregon.
Oregon's plan to double the doses currently being distributed would give the following places this many doses each week.