Not enough vaccine: Tri-county Phase 1A sign-up shut down
Health leaders in the tri-county region called Tuesday, Jan. 26, a "dark day" as they announced a COVID-19 vaccination sign-up survey for those in Phase 1A in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties has now been closed because they don't have enough vaccines.
The survey went live on Jan. 12. Out of 60,000 eligible workers who signed up, only 11,000 were scheduled for appointments — and even those will take weeks.
The health leaders said people who haven't heard back from the county now have to sign up on an Oregon Health Authority website.
Officials said that it might take weeks to get an appointment, even for those who are eligible. The scheduling system can only handle 1,000 people at a time, so people may have to try back several times. Once appointments are full for the week they will have to try again the next week.
Phase 1A people who already have an appointment to be vaccinated don't need to do anything but show up for the scheduled appointment.
Officials with Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties confirmed they're asking the state of Oregon to send more vaccine doses, but have not yet heard back.
But at the same time, they said teachers will begin to be vaccinated on Wednesday, Jan. 27, in the Portland area, following health care workers.
"There is a high likelihood, very high, many people in 1A won't get an appointment or get first dose for weeks," said Multnomah County Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey. "Others who filled out the survey may have to wait for months."
Portland schools said they're putting teachers who will be the first to see students in the classroom at the front of their lines — elementary teachers, bus drivers and custodians, for example.
One of the frustrations, the county health directors said, is that the state is holding back thousands of doses for use as the second shot for those who got their first shot.
But asked if they would request Gov. Brown to modify her vaccine prioritization plans, Dr. Jennifer Vines said no.
"We've been in conversation with the state at all levels about this situation with vaccine," she said. "We've been clear about the situation we are in. We don't have any plans to formally request the governor pause her phase-in plan."
The announcement was made on the same day the OHA reported 22 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon on Tuesday. Oregon's death toll is now at 1,904.
The Oregon Health Authority also reported 796 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 139,355. The new cases were reported in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (21), Clackamas (100), Clatsop (11), Columbia (8), Coos (2), Crook (8), Curry (2), Deschutes (70), Douglas (20), Harney (9), Hood River (8), Jackson (49), Jefferson (1), Josephine (14), Klamath (19), Lake (3), Lane (50), Lincoln (6), Linn (12), Malheur (16), Marion (61), Morrow (1), Multnomah (195), Polk (11), Sherman (1), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (18), Union (6), Wallowa (1), Wasco (2), Washington (37) and Yamhill (31).
There were 308 COVID-19 patients being treated at Oregon hospitals and 70 people in ICU beds.
On Tuesday, another 17,422 COVID-19 vaccine doses were added to the state immunization registry, according to OHA. Oregon has now administered a total of 325,473 first and second doses.
The state has received 589,200 doses in total.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
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