SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown said after guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday, Oregon will expand COVID-19 vaccination to include people age 65 and and older.
Vaccination of Oregon seniors, as well as child care providers and early learning and K-12 educators and staff, will start on Jan. 23, when additional vaccine shipments are expected to start arriving from the federal government.
The governor’s office and Oregon Health Authority will provide more details on the distribution plans, as well as how Oregon will continue to reach populations most vulnerable to COVID-19, on Friday.
“While this is an unexpected change in course from the federal government, receiving more vaccines is welcome news for states — and Oregon is ready to devote all resources necessary to ramp up distribution with our health care partners,” Brown said in a news release.
She also asked that people who will be newly eligible to have patience as providers won’t have answers yet about when exactly they can receive the shots.
“Today’s news arrived with no advance notice from the federal government,” Brown said. “Oregon health care providers are working as fast as humanly possible to shift their vaccine distribution plans to meet this sudden change in national guidance.”
Also Tuesday, Brown’s office announced that four Oregon counties are moving back to the extreme risk category after COVID-19 cases there increased. Baker, Clatsop, Coos and Morrow counties will move from high risk to extreme risk.
Effective Jan. 15 through Jan. 28, 26 counties including the most populous county, Multnomah, will be at the extreme risk level, with two counties at high risk, two at moderate risk, and six at lower risk, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Also in Tuesday’s update, Curry County was moved from extreme to moderate and Lake County was moved from lower to moderate.
Different health and safety measures apply for each level of risk.
Brown said in a news release that with four counties moving to extreme risk, it’s a reminder that health and safety measures continue to be of utmost importance.
More than 126,600 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Oregon and 1,613 people have died in the state since the pandemic began last year.