Oregon governor expands vaccines to all on April 19

Oregon
ABIGAIL DOLLINS

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visits the Marion County and Salem Health COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem, Ore.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — All Oregon residents age 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 19, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday morning.

The news coincides with an expected announcement from President Joe Biden on Tuesday that he is accelerating the deadline for states to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to every adult in the U.S. by April 19, a White House official said.

Last week Oregon and country officials warned of a fourth COVID-19 wave — expressing concerns about virus variants and the increase in cases.

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Brown described the coming weeks as a “critical moment for all to double down so we can outrun this next wave.”

Officials say Oregon will pass the threshold of 2 million vaccines administered on Tuesday and is focused on vaccinating as many frontline workers and people with underlying conditions as possible in the next two weeks.

“And yet, in communities across Oregon, COVID-19 is spreading at concerning rates. We must move as quickly as possible to get more shots in arms,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday.

People of color, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, make up a large percentage of those groups, said Brown, a Democrat.

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Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians became newly eligible for shots Monday, including frontline workers, their family members and those age 16 and up with underlying conditions.

“We are locked in a race between vaccine distribution and the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants,” Brown said.

Multiple variants have been reported across the state and circulating since late 2020.

Brown said she is working with the White House to make sure Oregon receives a fair share of the federal vaccine supply after the director of the Oregon Health Authority expressed concerns that the state wasn’t receiving as many doses per capita as other states, such as Kansas and Wyoming.

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