Oregonians ages 65+ can soon get vaccine
Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to all Oregonians age 65 and up, just as education and child-care workers will.
The change in eligibility, which takes effect Jan. 23, comes as health officials reported 54 more deaths associated with COVID-19 in Oregon, tying the state's previous single-day record.
However, that total includes deaths that occurred some time ago, but had not been reported due to holiday delays, officials said.
Brown's decision expanding the categories of people eligible for the vaccine to the elderly, education and childcare, was announced the same day that the federal government announced plans to distribute more doses of the vaccine faster, rather than keeping some in storage.
"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 prepared statement.
The news comes as questions were being raised over the slow pace of vaccine distribution and of Brown's decisions on who would receive vaccination first.
Officials on Tuesday reported that overall, 115,060 doses of vaccine have been administered to people in the state.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon dropped by six to 403. Of those, the number of intensive-care patients grew by nine to 93.
In addition to the vaccine and mortality information, the state also reported 1,203 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing that total to 127,780.
Case counts are based on either confirmed test results or a presumption due to symptoms and contact with a confirmed case.
The confirmed and presumptive cases were reported primarily in Multnomah (265 cases), Washington (155) and Clackamas (98) counties.
The state has not yet released additional information about the newly reported deaths.
As far as the high death number, the state's announcement said, "The rising case count that surged in November and December is one factor attributed to today's record-tying high death count. The counting of deaths from death certificates may take time to process because they are determined by physicians and then sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further review before the cause of death is ultimately determined. Once this information is confirmed, the information is reported back with a final cause of death to states. This lagging indicator is now being captured today."
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