These 13 Oregon counties can start broadening vaccine access ahead of schedule – OPB News

These 13 Oregon counties can start broadening vaccine access ahead of schedule – OPB

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Kelly Beckley, RN, prepares the Pfizer vaccine ahead of the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Oregon Convention Center back in January.

Kelly Beckley, RN, prepares the Pfizer vaccine ahead of the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Oregon Convention Center back in January.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Continuing with its plan to get vaccine doses into more arms across the state, the Oregon Health Authority announced Monday that 13 counties can start giving doses to agricultural workers, people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations.

The moves follows Oregon’s announcement last week that it would speed up vaccination timelines to meet the Biden administration’s goal of having all adults eligible for a vaccine by May 1.

As part of that move, state health officials said counties that complete eligible groups, such as seniors, may apply to the state to move on to groups that may not be eligible yet.

Thirteen Oregon counties have applied and received approval to move ahead so far: Baker, Benton, Deschutes, Grant, Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Polk, Umatilla and Union.

Those counties will now be able to enter Phase 1b, group 6 vaccination priorities, which includes adults ages 45 to 64 who have an underlying health condition, migrant and seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, food processers, people experiencing homelessness, people displaced by wildfires, wildland firefighters, pregnant women older than 16, and people who are living in low-income, senior congregate and independent living facilities.

The state plans to update its Get Vaccinated Oregon online tool to reflect the changes.

People in other Oregon counties who are within Phase 1b, group 6 will largely have to wait until March 29, when that group is eligible for the vaccine statewide.

To date, the Oregon Health Authority reports it has administered just over 1.5 million doses of vaccines statewide.

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A nurse in a high-visibility vest, wearing a face mask and face shield kneels outside an open car door as she speaks to the driver who is just out of view.

All adults should be eligible to receive a COVID-19 shot by May 1. Oregon will also allow individual counties to move through the timeline faster if they can.

March 19, 2021

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