New eligibility groups and FEMA support for vaccination announced

Governor Kate Brown was joined by OHA Director Patrick Allen and Public Health Director Rachael Banks in a Feb. 26 press conference on COVID-19 vaccination. The Governor announced plans to vaccinate new eligibility groups including frontline workers and people with underlying health conditions, in the coming weeks.

“By summer, provided supplies from the federal government continue as planned, any Oregonian who wants the vaccine will be eligible to receive it,” said Governor Brown. “And while that gives us all a reason to breathe a sigh of relief, it should also serve as a reminder that the finish line is in sight, and we cannot let up.”

Governor Brown also announced that FEMA will be supporting vaccination clinics and helping to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to support and relieve hospital staff and frontline health care workers.

Director Allen spoke of what the next few weeks may hold for those eligible for the vaccine. The state still has fewer doses than needed for those who are eligible. The shortage will continue to for the next week or two.

This means that appointments will be hard to get, many seniors still won’t get a vaccine right away, and many people will be frustrated and unhappy.

Things will begin to look better in mid-March. We should receive 1.4 million cumulative first doses the week of March 21, with more than the 1.3 million people eligible as of Feb. 26. These projections depend on vaccines arriving in Oregon from manufacturers and the federal government.

More information on eligibility is available on the OHA webpage. You can watch a video of the press conference below.

This article first appeared in the Feb. 26, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.