Healthcare staff among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine
Oregon frontline health care workers were among the first in the state to receive a new COVID-19 vaccine. Shipments of the vaccine were distributed nationwide Monday, Dec. 14, with Oregon receiving 35,100 doses of the first Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center nurses and doctors lined up to get their shots. The hospital received 2,000 doses, all of which are scheduled for Legacy staff. Oregon is expected to get slightly fewer than 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Hospitals received shipments starting Dec. 14, with skilled nursing facilities scheduled to receive doses in late December. Nationwide, medical staff and at-risk populations will be first in line for one of the recently approved vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna (which awaits federal emergency-use approval).
"This is the moment we have all been waiting for," Gov. Kate Brown told reporters during a Dec. 16 press conference on the vaccine's arrival. "We kick off this historic vaccine campaign in Oregon with our health care workers, who have been our first line of defense against COVID-19. Today they received the first vaccinations in our state. These heroes have poured everything they have into this fight. And to all our health care workers, we thank you."
No statewide timetable has been set for when the general public will be able to get the vaccine, but state health leaders said Monday that seniors, essential workers and those with underlying health conditions will be high priorities.
The week leading up to the Christmas holiday was marked by a record number of COVID-19 deaths in Oregon. On Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Oregon Health Authority reported 1,129 new cases and 54 new deaths from the coronavirus. As of Tuesday, 1,214 Oregonians died from the virus.
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