If you’ve visited Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) COVID-19 website recently, you might have noticed a new banner draped across the top of each webpage you visit. The banner contains a number, followed by the statement “… more people 18+ need to get vaccinated for Oregon to reach 70% vaccinated statewide. Find vaccines here.”
So, what exactly is this all about?
Reopening and the 70% vaccination goal
On May 4, President Joe Biden announced that his goal was to vaccinate 70% of the U.S. adult population by July 4. While there isn’t a single agreed-upon number that represents a level of vaccination that provides adequate community immunity, we do know that the COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and effective and provide immunity for at least six months.
When at least 70% of adults are immunized, enough people will be protected from infection to greatly reduce transmission of the virus.
That’s why, on May 11, Governor Kate Brown announced that once Oregon vaccinates 70% of its residents ages 18 and older, the state could abandon the County Risk Level framework used throughout the course of the pandemic.
How we determine 70%
To calculate how many people would need to be vaccinated to reach Governor Brown’s goal, OHA first needed to determine the total number of people ages 18 and older in Oregon. To get this figure, OHA used the data published in the National Census Population Estimates from the 2019 Vintage US Census Bureau Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States. The data revealed that there are currently 3,351,175 people who are 18 and older in the state of Oregon.
To calculate the number of people 18 and older who would need to be vaccinated to reach the 70% vaccination goal, the OHA team multiplied the total number of people ages 18 and older in Oregon (3,351,175) by 0.7. That calculation comes out to 2,345,822.5. OHA rounded that figure up to 2,345,823 to make it a whole number.
Thus, OHA determined that Oregon must vaccinate 2,345,823 people ages 18 and older to reach the 70% statewide vaccination goal.
How we’re keeping track of our progress
Determining how many people ages 18 and older would need to get vaccinated was just the first step, however. Next, OHA needed to keep track of Oregon’s progress towards that goal.
To do so, OHA depends upon the data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Every day, the CDC updates and publishes data in its COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States data tracker. This tracker provides a high-level overview of all vaccines that have been administered by “jurisdictional partner clinics, retail pharmacies, long-term care facilities, dialysis centers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Health Resources and Services Administration partner sites, and federal entity facilities” across the country.
When the CDC updates its vaccination data — typically around 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) — OHA makes note of the number of people 18 years of age and older who have been vaccinated according to that data tracker.
Calculating our progress
With all these figures determined, OHA then takes time to publish Oregon’s progress toward the 70% vaccination threshold.
To do so, OHA subtracts the total number of people ages 18 and older who have been vaccinated in Oregon from 70% of the total number of people ages 18 years and older in Oregon.
That calculation looks like this:
Total # of people 18 and older in Oregon (.7) – Total # of vaccinated people 18 and older in Oregon
Displaying our progress
When Governor Brown announced the statewide vaccination goal, OHA’s data informaticists created a Tableau dashboard to keep track of Oregon’s progress towards that goal, which you can find here.
The top left visual on that dashboard (featured above) contains a simple bar graph, which illustrates how close Oregon is to reaching the 70% statewide vaccination goal. The other information displayed on this dashboard relates to county-specific vaccination metrics.
On OHA’s COVID-19 website, the top of each webpage contains a banner (featured above) that is updated with the same information about Oregon’s progress toward the 70% statewide vaccination goal.
Both the banner and the OHA dashboard will be updated by 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) every day as Oregon continues making progress towards this goal.
Life once Oregon hits 70%
In a June 4 press conference, Governor Brown indicated that there will no longer be capacity limits for businesses, statewide mask requirements or any of the other measures laid out in the County Risk Level framework once Oregon reaches the 70% vaccination threshold.
“Masks will largely no longer be required by the state, with the exception of places the federal government has outlined are still necessary, such as airports, public transit and health care settings,” said Governor Brown. “No more physical distancing.”
In a June 4 press release, Governor Brown also stated that vaccine verification will no longer be necessary. However, Governor Brown urged unvaccinated and other vulnerable individuals to continue wearing masks and practicing other preventative measures to stay safe from COVID-19.
Since children under 12 are still not eligible for vaccination, there will also be measures in place for school and child care settings. You can read more about those details here.
If you are 12 or older, visit OHA’s Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon webpage to schedule your vaccine appointment today. Individuals who get vaccinated by June 27 will automatically be eligible for the $1 Million prize available through the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign.
Together, we can reach the 70% statewide vaccination goal and start getting back to doing the things we love.