Governor Kate Brown was joined by OHA Director Patrick Allen and State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger to discuss Oregon’s vaccination progress and to outline the details on the state’s future reopening plans. Here’s what you need to know.
Oregon nearing statewide vaccination goal
On May 11, Governor Brown announced that Oregon could all but terminate its County Risk Level framework once 70% of Oregon residents ages 18 and older were vaccinated against COVID-19. As of June 4, Oregon officially has the finish line in sight.
“We are now over 66% of Oregonians statewide with a first dose — just shy of our 70% goal,” said Governor Brown. “For our reporters who enjoy the math on this, that’s just 127,000 people away from 70%.”
Once Oregon reaches the 70% threshold, some immediate changes will take place.
“No more capacity limits for businesses,” said Governor Brown. “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. No more physical distancing.”
Governor Brown also stated that she expects K–12 schools and childcare providers to reopen fully for regular operation come Fall 2021 with certain health and safety measures in place.
Life after Oregon reaches statewide vaccination goal
While there are many restrictions that will be fading once Oregon hits 70%, Governor Brown urged that people in Oregon must continue to make smart, conscientious decisions.
“… There are still Oregonians who need to take extra precautions to feel and stay safe,” said Governor Brown.
Many immunocompromised individuals and children who are not eligible for vaccination remain vulnerable to COVID-19, while individuals in historically marginalized communities continue to face inequitable access to health care resources.
As such, Governor Brown urged all people in Oregon to keep working together.
“When we cross the 70% threshold, it doesn’t mean we are stopping our vaccine rollout,” said Governor Brown. “It means we must double down to keep reaching every community with vaccines and information.”
Breakthrough cases and a tale of two pandemics
OHA Director Allen presented new information about the differences of COVID-19 for those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not.
“There isn’t one pandemic in Oregon,” said Director Allen. “There are two: One is a pandemic that is dying out among people who are vaccinated. And the other is a pandemic that is raging as fiercely as ever among people who are unvaccinated.”
To support his remarks, Director Allen referenced two figures that emerged in the June 3 Vaccine Breakthrough Cases Report published by OHA. The report indicates that 98% of the 16,097 COVID-19 cases recorded in May occurred among people who were not fully vaccinated.
“The data clearly show that if you are fully vaccinated, you can begin to put the pandemic behind you,” said Director Allen. “But if you’re unvaccinated, the threat of COVID-19 still shadows your life.”
You can read more about vaccine breakthrough cases here.
Update on vaccination progress
Director Allen also provided an update on the specifics of Oregon’s statewide vaccination progress. Here are some of the key figures:
- More than 2.2 million people in Oregon have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Oregon has vaccinated 66.2% of people who are 18 and older.
- Vaccinations among Latino/a/x individuals increased by 5%.
- Vaccinations among Black Oregon residents increased by 5.4%.
- Vaccinations among American Indian/Alaskan Natives increased by 5.2%.
- Vaccinations among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities increased by 5%.
Director Allen attributed the uptick in vaccinations in communities of color to OHA’s continued work with Federally Qualified Health Centers, community-based organizations and local public health departments. As of now, Oregon is still on pace to vaccinate 70% of its residents 18 and older by June 21.
COVID-19 waning, but the need for vaccination remains
Dr. Sidelinger, supporting Director Allen’s earlier comment about a tale of two pandemics, provided additional data on the different realities for fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals.
“In one pandemic, as we near the threshold of 70% of adult Oregonians getting at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine: Spread of the virus is clearly waning,” said Dr. Sidelinger.
Dr. Sidelinger announced that daily cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations and the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 are all declining, largely as a result of Oregon’s continued vaccination progress and commitment to preventive safety measures. But for folks who aren’t yet fully vaccinated, the pandemic wages on.
Referring to data captured between March 1 and May 31 of this year, Dr. Sidelinger pointed out that 98% of COVID-19 cases and 94% of COVID-19 associated deaths were among those not fully vaccinated.
“The decision to get vaccinated is a very personal one,” said Dr. Sidelinger. “But the data unquestionably shows that the widespread availability of safe and highly effective vaccines has flipped the script in Oregon.”
Vaccination is the safest and most effective way for all people in Oregon to get back to doing the things they love. 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.
You can watch a full recording of the June 4 press conference below.