PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health officials said Monday they expect to receive 34,000 doses of, the recently approved, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Currently the two vaccines that Oregon has — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — both have reported efficacy rates around 95%, require two doses and need ultra-cold storage. Johnson & Johnson’s is a single-dose vaccine and can be stored in a refrigerator for months, but has a lower efficacy rate.
“Having access to a third highly effective COVID-19 vaccine is a game changing development for Oregonians,’ said Paul Cieslak, the medical director for communicable diseases and immunization for the Oregon Health Authority. “We believe this vaccine is effective against the virus, and a one-dose regimen will allow us to vaccinate more Oregonians more quickly.”
While officials say they are excited for the Johnson & Johnson doses, they anticipate that less will be available in the next few weeks following this week’s initial allocation.
So far, more a cumulative total of more than 986,000 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Oregonians.
For the past month, health officials have reiterated that although the vaccine supply is increasing, it’ll take time for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to move through the process.
As of Monday, people who are 65 years and older became eligible to receive doses of the vaccine — joining other elderly residents, people in long-term care facilities, adults in custody, educators and healthcare workers.
Last week, Gov. Kate Brown presented her new vaccine eligibility timeline for the state.
Beginning March 29, residents who are 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions, seasonally-impacted frontline workers — such as migrant seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, and food processing workers — displaced victims of the September 2020 wildfires, wildland firefighters, people living in low-income and congregate senior housing and individuals experiencing houselessness will be eligible for the vaccine.
On May 1, Oregon will offer the vaccine to residents age 16 to 44 with underlying medical conditions, and frontline essential workers.
By June 1, the general population age 45 and older will become eligible.
Finally, by July 1, Oregon will offer the vaccine to anyone over age 16.
“One year in, with our vaccine efforts continuing to ramp up, we truly see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Gov. Brown said during a press conference Friday. “Come summer, provided supplies from the federal government continue as planned, any Oregonian who wants the vaccine will be eligible to receive it.”
On Monday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 197 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 155,787. The death toll is 2,212.