By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County on low end of vaccine rollout

That number places the county in the second-to-lowest category of vaccines administered in the state, which is among the slowest in vaccine rollout nationwide.

In a presentation to the public officials weekly Zoom session on the pandemic, county Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin blamed the slow local distribution on the low number of doses she said the county has received so far from the state.

“As soon as we get that vaccine, we’re getting it out,” Manfrin said, at the Jan. 5 meeting.

“Public Health received our first allocation last Wednesday. We received it in the morning and by the afternoon we were vaccinating people in our clinic and we continued to do so into Thursday ... as soon as that vaccine’s coming in to us we’re pushing it out very quickly and are going to be continuing to do that.”

The vaccine is being distributed to county Public Health, Providence Newberg Hospital, Willamette Valley Medical Center and Virginia Garcia clinic, Manfrin said. The hospitals and clinics are using it to vaccinate their own staff first, and afterward focusing on paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement, she said.

It’s still unclear, Manfrin said, when the general public will be able to obtain vaccines.

Polk and Marion counties are both in the highest category of vaccine doses administered. Polk County, with a population of 82,943, has administered doses to 2,069 people so far, and Marion County, with a population of 347,7621, has given 8,400 shots.

But Manfin said county Public Health received just 200 doses for its first week’s allocation and 100 for its second. Those numbers did not include doses sent to the hospitals, and Manfin did not answer a question on the roundtable about how many the hospitals had received.

“We are trying to understand the allocation methodology; there’s lots of questions and I am hearing that Oregon Health Authority is really working hard to refine the methodology to assure that they’re getting vaccine where it needs to go as quickly as possible,” she said. “We are geared up and feel like we can likely manage around 500 per day with Public Health and then more if you include those community vaccinated partners that I mentioned, but we just need the vaccine to be able to do that.”

The state has promised to accelerate vaccinations and is under orders from Governor Kate Brown to increase quickly.

As of Sunday, the state had administered a total of 97,010 doses of vaccine. Some of those include people who have now received both doses. The OHA said that accounted for 2.2% of Oregonians, and 37% of the state’s vaccine allocation, as of Saturday.

Over the weekend, the county surpassed 3,000 cases of COVID-19. As of Monday, with 109 new cases over three days, the county registered 3,020 cases to date, and 38 deaths.

State numbers for Monday had not yet been released as of press time, but as of Sunday, Oregon had seen 125,683 cases and 1,605 deaths.


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