Under pressure from federal officials, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that she’ll allow all Oregonians 65 and older to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting Jan. 23 -- at least a month earlier than expected.
On her own accord, Brown also said she would allow childcare, preschool and K-12 school employees to start receiving vaccinations the same day, triggering what will be an unprecedented wave of people seeking vaccinations in a state that has struggled to administer shots quickly.
Brown’s decision to expand vaccinations to older Oregonians came in response to urging from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who earlier in the day said all states should start vaccinating Americans who are 65 or older and people with underlying conditions that put them at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.
Azar said the federal government would no longer hold onto second doses of the vaccines before shipping them out -- and that would free up more doses to send to states to vaccinate this new group of vulnerable Americans.
“While this is an unexpected change in course from the federal government, receiving more vaccines is welcome news for states — and Oregon is ready to devote all resources necessary to ramp up distribution with our health care partners,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday evening announcing the eligibility change. Read full story
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