PORTLAND, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced she is expanding who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to include Oregonians 65 and older.
“Vaccinations of seniors, child care providers, PK-12 educators and staff will begin Jan. 23,” the governor tweeted.
The announcement comes on the same day the Trump administration asked states to vaccinate people 65 and older, and people younger than 65 who have underlying health conditions that put them at high risk of a severe reaction to the coronavirus.
The governor and Oregon health officials had previously taken criticism for including teachers in the next group of people set to get vaccinated, but not older Oregonians.
Brown on Tuesday asked for patience from people who will be newly eligible to get the vaccine.
“Please, do not call your doctor’s office,” the governor tweeted. “Know that health care providers are working as fast as humanly possible to shift their vaccine distribution plans to meet this sudden change in national guidance.”
Oregon has also been criticized for its slow rollout of the vaccine during the first month of availability. There have been 115,060 doses of the coronavirus vaccine administered in the state so far, according to the Oregon Health Authority. At least 270,000 doses have been delivered to sites across Oregon.
The state is currently vaccinating people in Phase 1a, which includes four groups:
- Group 1: Hospitals; urgent care; skilled nursing and memory care facility health care providers and residents; tribal health programs; emergency medical services providers and other first responders.
- Group 2: Other long-term care facilities and congregate care sites, including health care providers and residents; hospice programs; mobile crisis care and related services; individuals working in a correctional setting; personnel of group homes for children or adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Group 3: Outpatient settings serving specific high-risk groups; in home care; day treatment services; non-emergency medical transportation.
- Group 4: Health care personnel working in other outpatient and public health settings.
Oregon has been working to determine who will be in Phase 1b. Up until Brown's announcement on Tuesday, people 65 and older were not expected to be part of Phase 1b. The state's official grouping of who will be in Phase 1b has not yet been released.