PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon mistakenly scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointments for 11,000 people who are not currently eligible to receive the shot until April 19, officials said Wednesday.
Administrators of the Oregon Convention Center clinic said they will honor appointments made by any of the 11,000 ineligible people.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, on Monday their partner All4Oregon sent an email invitation to schedule vaccination appointments at the Oregon Convention Center to the thousands of ineligible people. Officials say the mistake was “based on erroneous information supplied” by the health authority.
Since February, the Get Vaccinated Oregon team at the Oregon Health Authority has given All4Oregon the contact information of eligible people in the Portland area to coordinate scheduling at the Oregon Convention Center. On March 21, health authority included the 11,000 additional people on an eligibility list.
“We sincerely apologize for our mistake and the confusion it has caused,” read a statement from the health authority.
Currently in Oregon, those who can receive the vaccine include health care workers, first responders, teachers and residents over age 65. People who are 45 or older with a pre-existing condition, seasonal and migrant farmworkers, food processors, the homeless and those affected by last summer’s wildfires are scheduled to become eligible on March 29. In addition on April 19, frontline workers, multigenerational household members, and people 16 to 44 with underlying health conditions will be eligible.
By May 1, anyone 16 or older will be eligible for the vaccine.
However, as of Tuesday, 21 out of Oregon’s 36 counties were authorized to begin vaccinating farmworkers, people who are unsheltered and other vulnerable populations — who are not yet eligible statewide.
Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington were not among the counties moving ahead.
Oregon has been accelerating its timeline for vaccine distribution in an effort to meet the President Joe Biden’s goal of making COVID-19 vaccine appointments possible for all adults by May 1.
To date more than 1 million people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.