Oregon health care worker COVID-19 vaccination rates higher than rates among the broader public, but disparities persist

By the end of June, 94% of Oregon dentists, nearly nine in 10 medical doctors and nearly eight in 10 nurse practitioners had been vaccinated, according to new data released by OHA. Overall, more than seven in 10 health care workers in Oregon were vaccinated, outpacing the adult vaccination rate at the time.  

However, state data show that health care workers among American Indian/Alaskan Natives, Latino/a/x, Black and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities were under-vaccinated compared to their white counterparts. State health officials pointed out that health care professions reflect the communities from which they are drawn, and disparate rates of vaccinations based on race/ethnicity could be due to many factors, including age and structural barriers that hinder professional advancement and licensure. 

Health care worker vaccination rates varied based on licensee type, age, race, ethnicity and geographic location. The data are part of a new dashboard that reports COVID-19 vaccination rates among more than 20 categories of state-licensed health care workers in Oregon. OHA will continue to monitor and update vaccination rates among these workers monthly. 

OHA Director Patrick Allen said: “A fully vaccinated health care workforce is vital to patient safety and to protect the public against the pandemic. We’ll continue to support health systems and state licensing boards to increase health worker vaccination rates.”

State-licensed and registered health care occupations include:

  • Nursing: nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, certified nursing assistant
  • Emergency Medical Services: paramedic, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), EMT-Intermediate, Advanced EMT, Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
  • Medicine: medical doctor, osteopathic doctor, physician assistant, acupuncturist
  • Dentistry: dentist, dental hygienist
  • Pharmacy: pharmacist, pharmacist technician
  • Occupational therapy: occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant
  • Naturopathy: naturopathic physician
  • Respiratory therapy: respiratory therapist
  • Certified traditional health workers
  • Chiropractic: chiropractic physicians, chiropractic assistant
  • Massage therapy: licensed massage therapist

This article first appeared in the July 13, 2021 OHA Daily COVID-19 news release.