Oregon will become the 49th state Wednesday to start vaccinating its healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents against COVID-19 — two days after the first shipments arrived early Monday morning.
A group of healthcare workers at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland are scheduled to be the first in the state to be injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, followed by workers at Oregon Health & Science University in Southwest Portland and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario on the Oregon-Idaho border.
Officials at the Oregon Health Authority and Gov. Kate Brown’s office didn’t immediately answer questions Tuesday about why Oregon’s rollout of the vaccine is taking two days to begin and whether that indicates problems within Oregon’s planning or distribution efforts.
Many states received their first shipments Sunday evening or early Monday morning. Oregon’s first 975-dose package arrived at 6:45 a.m. Monday.
By Tuesday afternoon, 48 states and the District of Columbia had already started their first injections. Other than Oregon, only Tennessee had not yet inoculated its first resident.
According to The Tennessean, the state received its first doses Monday but put them into storage as a backup supply because state leaders determined there was no equitable way to decide which hospital got the doses first. Gov. Bill Lee said fairness should trump speed, according to the news organization.
In Oregon on Wednesday, the governor’s office will livestream the three hospitals inoculating their first employees with the vaccine. Legacy Health received its first shipments Monday, and OHSU and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center had said their initial shipments were to arrive Tuesday.
The livestream is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The public can watch here.
— Aimee Green; email@example.com; @o_aimee