PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health officials had a goal of administering 100,000 coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2020, but as of Tuesday had only administered 51,283.
Now, Gov. Kate Brown has set a new goal of 12,000 vaccinations per day within the next two weeks. Health authority officials said Tuesday if they expand the number of administration sites and adjust prioritization requirements, they are confident they will reach that goal.
“In the first 19 days of COVID-19 vaccinations, we’ve learned some key lessons we’ll use to speed our vaccination efforts,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said.
The first phase of vaccination focused on health care workers and residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Effective this week, Oregon Health Authority will offer vaccinations to hospice programs, mobile crisis care, outpatient settings serving specific high-risk group, in-home care services, non-emergency medical transport, health care providers in other outpatient, and public health workers.
“So far, Oregon has been good at getting vaccinations into the arms of people assigned to a specific location – like a hospital worker or a resident at a skilled nursing facility,” Allen said. “Now we need to up our game for people outside those locations.”
In addition, people eligible for the vaccine will be able to receive it at retail pharmacies and the federal pharmacy partnerships to vaccinate more nursing home staff and residents is being expanded.
“Oregon, like most of the country, is not moving fast enough,” Gov. Brown said in a news release Monday. “All states are grappling with the same logistical challenges, and while we are making steady progress, we must move even more quickly when every vaccination has the potential to save someone’s life.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon currently ranks 36th in the nation in vaccine distribution, with 1.2% of the state’s population having been vaccinated.
“Now we need to outperform other states in getting our state residents vaccinated,” Allen said. “This isn’t about our state ranking as a point of pride. Because so few Oregonians have contracted COVID-19, our state remains particularly vulnerable to the virus.”