COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Oregon

Oregon enters Phase 1A of vaccine delivery initiative

Sydney Carpenter | News Editor

In late December, select Oregon residents received doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

To deliver the vaccine to all Oregonians, the state has implemented a three-phase rollout plan. On Jan. 5, Oregon began Phase 1A of its vaccination schedule. In Phase 1A, the Oregon Health Association lists in its plan: hospital workers and first responders, elderly and those involved in their care, prison doctors, clinics serving high-risk groups, visiting nurses/home health care providers, other health care providers and funeral home workers to be vaccinated first. 

Over 51,000 Oregonians have received the first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine since the beginning of 2021, whereas only nine people have completed the two doses required for full vaccination according to covidvaccine.oregon.gov. Currently, the CDC reports Oregon has delivered over 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine and over 121,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Currently Pfizer and Moderna are known to have three major differences, including age restrictions, temperature storage requirements and length of time between each dose. In comparison to Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine can be kept at -4 °F, whereas Pfizer’s must be kept at  -94 °F. Additionally, a person must be at least 18 years old or older to receive the Moderna vaccine and the two doses must be administered 28 days apart in comparison to Pfizer’s 21-day separation, which has an age restriction of 16 years.

On Dec. 22, West Valley Hospital in Dallas received its first shipment of Moderna vaccine according to a press release by Salem Health. 

“For decades, West Valley Hospital has been providing a wide range of quality care to residents of Polk County,” said West Valley Hospital Chief administrative officer and licensed registered nurse Brandon Schmidgall in the press release. “Today we begin offering a new and historic service — the COVID-19 vaccine — first to our health care heroes, but eventually to our small-town community.”

As of Jan. 5, Polk County has vaccinated 1% of an estimated 82,000 residents according to the OHA. Local clinics like Western’s Student Health and Counseling Center have not received COVID vaccines yet; although, on Dec. 22, Oregon added educators to the list. 

 “Teachers have recently been added to Phase 1A and who that all includes will need to be more clearly defined by OHA,” said Polk County Public Health Administrator Jacqui Umstead. “We will work with Western Oregon University, and other local educational institutions to ensure that both staff and students have access to the vaccine, when it is their turn.” 

Contact the author at scarpenter18@mail.wou.edu

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