SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is expecting to receive federal stimulus money this week to help pay for its COVID-19 vaccination program.
Congress approved $3 billion for states to use for vaccine activities under the supplemental pandemic stimulus bill that went into law in late December. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the state’s share of those funds is $38.1 million, although only a portion of that is expected to be distributed this week.
The money can be used to promote and track as well as to distribute and administer the vaccines. The latter is where Oregon’s vaccination program has bogged down.
The state has struggled to vaccinate large numbers of people, although by late last week it was able to hit the 12,000 doses-per-day vaccination target put forth by Gov. Kate Brown.
Oregon Health Authority Chief Medical Officer Dana Hargunani cited challenges with vaccine distribution as well as navigating scheduling, physical distancing at vaccination sites and the observation period required immediately after the vaccine is administered.
OHA Director Patrick Allen says the federal money would go towards staffing and backfilling positions that have been reassigned to the vaccination effort.