Oregon’s vaccination expansion put on hold due to lack of resources

Expected "surge" of vaccine doses will not be available
During a Press Briefing on Friday, December 11, 2020, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown discussed the status of COVID-19 and the pending distribution of vaccines (H/T Oregon Public Health Division, YouTube).

SALEM, Oreg. — Oregon Governor Kate Brown says seniors will have to wait just a little bit longer for their shot at a coronavirus vaccine.  In a press conference Friday, Brown said the state had hoped to start offering the vaccine to people 65 and older, thanks to an expected surge of vaccine doses from the federal government.

Earlier this week, HHS officials said they planned to send out all available doses of the vaccine, rather than holding half of them back to ensure that everyone gets a second dose, or ‘booster shot,’ on time.  State officials, including Governor Brown, quickly began planning for twice as many doses as originally expected – but then, Brown says, everything fell apart.

WATCH: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown discusses COVID-19 vaccine shortage, pandemic response

Brown says she called federal officials Thursday night to get more details about the promised surge of vaccines, only to find out that “there were no stockpiles…sitting on their shelves.”  Brown says she’s shocked that the federal government would set such an expectation for the American people, knowing that they could not fulfill it.

“Their empty promises are literally playing with people’s lives,” Brown said Friday.  She says instead of expanding vaccination eligibility to Oregonians 65 and up, the state will have to fall back on its original plan for at least the next few weeks.

Brown says educators and school staff will be able to get the vaccine starting the week of January 25th, as part of the effort to re-open classrooms for in-person learning as quickly as possible.  People over 80 years old will be eligible for the vaccine starting February 8th.

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