There are new signs that Oregon is facing slowing demand for vaccines in some parts of the state.
Fourteen counties have asked the state to stop sending new first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to them, at least for next week, says the Oregon Health Authority.
Clatsop, Coos, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler counties don’t want at least first doses; some also don’t want second doses.
Some counties, including Grant, Harney and Lake, have asked the state to halt deliveries for the past three weeks.
“Vaccine uptake has really, really slowed in some of the smallest populated counties in the state,” says Dave Baden, OHA’s chief financial officer.
“This will be an unfortunate trend,” he adds. “We obviously want vaccine uptake to be statewide.”
At least three of those counties have widespread COVID-19, according to Oregon Health Authority statistics. For the two-week period ending April 17, Grant, Jackson and Jefferson counties all had among the highest rates of COVID-19 in the state, with more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents over that period. Grant County, according to a New York Times analysis, is tied for third-highest rate of COVID-19 of any county in the country, though with a low population that amounts to only seven new cases per day on average over the past week.
The vaccines are highly effective, but to halt the spread of the disease, some 70% of people need to get the vaccine, and since vaccines have only been approved for people ages 16 and up, even more adults need to get the vaccine. With more people vaccinated, fewer people will get the disease.
West Virginia is among those states seeing a notable slowing of demand for vaccines. Multiple counties in that state have stopped asking for vaccines, NBC News reported.
In Oregon, some parts of the state continue to see high demand for vaccines. Some 5,000 doses for next week are being redirected to Multnomah, Marion and Lane counties, Baden says.