January 27, 2021

During phone calls Tuesday night and Wednesday morning Gov. Kate Brown told Metro County Chairs that additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine would be allocated to the Tri-County region the week of Feb. 1 for Phase 1A eligible people. 

The Metro counties will receive 17,000 additional doses for high priority Phase 1A eligible group, in addition to the 15,000 doses already earmarked for educators that week.

“We want to thank Gov. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority for hearing our concerns and responding to the unique challenges of vaccinating the very large eligible groups in the state’s healthcare and education hubs in and around Portland,’’ Chair Deborah Kafoury said. “We know vaccines are in short supply, and we need to work together to prevent severe illness and death.”

On Tuesday, public health officials from Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties disclosed that although several counties have completed vaccinating people in Phase 1A — and some have even completed their eligible educators —  the Metro region has still not received enough doses to vaccinate tens of thousands of Phase 1A people who filled out a survey designed to connect eligible workers with vaccine appointments. In addition to being the most populous region in the state, the Portland Metro counties are home to the state’s largest health and education systems.

“I am thrilled that the Governor and Oregon Health Authority are providing these extra doses to help us vaccinate some of our most vulnerable and high priority community members, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, people who are medically fragile and home health providers. We will continue to work with our government, health care systems and other partners to deliver the vaccine as swiftly as possible and to ensure equitable distribution in the Metro area,” said Washington County Chair, Kathryn Harrington.

Working with the Oregon Health Authority, local public health confirmed that  the 32,000 vaccine doses now earmarked for the week of Feb. 1 would be distributed in the following manner.

  • Each county will receive 2,000 doses each (6,000 total) for focused vaccination efforts within priority Phase 1a populations.

  • The remaining 26,000 doses will go to the partner health systems. 

    • 11,000 for regional Phase 1A vaccine efforts 

    • 15,000 for education/early learning efforts

 Public health’s Phase 1A priorities include:

  • Individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities or who receive in-home services, other medical/disability individuals, and their caregivers

  • Traditional health workers who provide in-person services

  • Health care interpreters who provide in-person services

  • Home health providers

  • Long-term care facilities not covered through the federal pharmacy program 

  • Long-term care facilities covered by the federal pharmacy program but not yet scheduled and that have reported recent outbreaks

  • Other congregate care facilities outlined in Phase 1A.

“Having additional vaccines is welcome news for those who want the vaccine. However, please remember, the supply is still limited and people need to be patient,” said Clackamas County Public Health Director Philip Mason-Joyner. “Please remember that although you are eligible for a vaccine now, it could be a while before you get it.

“Any additional vaccine is welcome news,” agreed Dr. Jennifer Vines, Regional Health Officer, “and we are ready to keep working with our health system partners over the next year until everyone who wants a vaccine has the chance to get one.”