PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - When the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses head to Oregon, it'll only be enough to cover a fraction of our health care workers.
Experts with the Oregon Health Authority laid out the state's vaccine distribution plan in new detail Thursday, offering more insight into why certain groups will be first to receive the vaccine, and how it'll happen.
If all goes according to plan, more than 147,000 vaccine doses from both Pfizer and Moderna will arrive in Oregon over the next two weeks, with one shipment scheduled for Dec. 15 and a second on Dec. 22.
"Hospitals are going to need to prioritize because they're not going to be getting enough vaccine all at the same time to provide vaccine for all of their staff," OHA Senior Health Advisor Joe Sullivan said during a webinar presentation.
Sullivan explained that the vast majority of the doses coming in December will go to hospital workers and emergency medical personnel - more specifically, to people who work directly with COVID-19 patients.
Other hospital staff members, like administrators, are still included in the first group of people to receive the vaccine in Oregon, known as the "1A" group, but it's up to each individual hospital to determine vaccine order as more doses arrive in the months ahead.
State leaders estimate there are around 400,000 Oregonians in the 1A group.
Health experts said 11,000 doses of the initial 147,000 will be allocated to residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities, where experts say the most vulnerable people live. After skilled nursing facilities have received vaccines, the rest of the long-term care facilities will get them.
"These are the most medically fragile people in Oregon, and these are the ones who are representing the majority of our morbidity and mortality here in Oregon," Sullivan said.
According to OHA, the federal government has contracted Walgreens, CVS and Consonus Pharmacy to deliver and administer the vaccine to all long-term care facilities.
"They're going to handle all the storage and handling, and right now they're already reaching out to those skilled nursing facilities that are on their list to schedule visits," vaccine planning unit manager Rex Larsen said.
After everybody in a health care or long-term care environment has been vaccinated, then the next priority group, 1B, includes other essential workers and people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, like the elderly.
Sullivan described the pandemic in Oregon as the state's current wildfire.
"This vaccine program is our fire line," Sullivan said, adding that mask-wearing and social distancing are still extremely important tools to help control the virus.
While Sullivan and Larsen couldn't answer questions about the vaccine timeline for other essential workers and the general public, they said the fact that more vaccine candidates are on the horizon will hopefully mean dose shipments will increase exponentially.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
- Local healthcare worker experiences delayed vaccine reaction
- Woman’s car stolen with child inside in Beaverton; thief brought back the boy, then drove off again
- Winning numbers drawn for $865M Mega Millions jackpot; Powerball up to $730M
- Four-car crash shuts down southbound I-205 in NE Portland; four people taken to hospital
- Family who lost house in Beachie Creek Fire to receive new, custom-built tiny home
- Police: Protesters throw objects at officers, damage Democratic Party of Oregon building in Portland
- Police investigating after two bodies found in SE Portland
- Sheriff: Investigation underway after skeletal human remains found by timber crew near Molalla
- Biden signs executive orders on climate change, coronavirus
- PHOTOS: Inside President Biden's newly decorated Oval Office