At a press conference today, Governor Kate Brown and State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger gave an overview of the pandemic in Oregon and the state’s progress towards its vaccination goal.
Governor Brown said that more than 67% of Oregonians 18 and older have now received their first dose of a vaccine. “We are so close to fully reopening our economy,” she said. When 70% of people have had their first shot, the state will lift most restrictions.
Oregon is also closing the equity gap in vaccinating communities of color, although the governor said there is more work to be done.
She reminded people who get their first shot that they will be eligible to win $1 million and other prizes in Oregon’s Take Your Shot campaign.
As extra incentive, she noted that people who get their first- or single-dose vaccine at OHSU’s Portland airport clinic or at the Oregon Convention Center will receive $100 gift cards while supplies last.
The spread of the virus is receding in communities across the state.
Daily cases, COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths, and percentage of people testing positive all continue to decline, Dr. Dean Sidelinger said.
“As our breakthrough data shows – the virus is overwhelmingly impacting those who are not fully vaccinated – while those vaccinated are safe from the virus. Just about every person now infected with the virus and who has required hospital care has not been fully vaccinated.”
Vaccine-induced immunity versus natural immunity
He explained that people who have had COVID-19 and recovered, may not have the same level of immunity as someone who has not been infected and has been fully vaccinated. It is unknown how long protection will last.
In all cases, he said, it is better to have immunity from COVID-19 without being sickened by it. The disease can be deadly and even moderate infections can result in long-term and serious complications that can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, brain and lungs.
“There is no substitute for the protection afforded to us by the COVID-19 vaccines.”
Dr. Sidelinger pointed out that modeling shows that estimated immunity from vaccination is present in four times more people than those who have naturally acquired immunity.
The model also shows that transmission of the virus has slowed considerably and forecasts a drop in cases and hospitalizations for the rest of this month.
The science and data cannot be clearer,” said Dr. Sidelinger. “If you’re protected against COVID-19, you are at low risk of getting the virus and your pandemic is nearing an end. If you have not been vaccinated your pandemic still rages and the virus presents a clear danger.
Please make a plan – and get vaccinated.”
You can watch the full press conference here.