By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: A scavenger hunt for vaccine access

The law of supply and demand describes an economic interplay of price and production. With COVID-19 vaccines, however, limited supply plus boundless demand created an understandable scavenger hunt for life-saving vaccinations.

Many vaccination clinics for designated people have ended with insider access to leftover vaccine. That process, despite being unfair, has been accepted because those doses otherwise would have been discarded.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

The scavenger hunt played out at clinics for Oregon’s priority list of vaccine recipients: first responders; health care workers and caregivers; justice system workers; K-12 educators and staff; Native Americans; and now, finally, people age 65 and older.

Those who learned of clinic schedules urged family and friends to drop by in hopes of vaccinations to otherwise ineligible recipients. Again, unfair but understandable, since those leftover doses would have been wasted.

But that begs the question: Why did Oregon fail to follow the real math of COVID-19?

Through Wednesday, 2,194 Oregon deaths attributed to the COVID-19 confirmed a long-known reality: 97 percent of Oregon’s pandemic victims were age 50 or older, including 52 percent age 80-plus. And 86 percent of Oregon’s COVID-19 fatalities had underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular, neurological, lung, kidney, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.

Elderly citizens, and particularly people with those chronic conditions, should have been among the first to be vaccinated; they should have been integrated into Oregon’s high-priority groups to ensure vaccines for people most likely to die from COVID-19 complications; the vaccine plan should have been better designed to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Oregon Health Authority reported this week that residents and staff at most licensed facilities for older adults and people with disabilities are receiving on-site vaccinations. However, older citizens living at home face discrimination from a system favoring people on the Internet.

I know, from experience. Being eligible by age for vaccination, I registered on the Yamhill County Health website. An email last week announced a “first-come, first-served” clinic by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, sending me immediately to the online appointment list. I connected on my third try, and moments later discovered all appointments for that clinic were filled.

I felt lucky, not quite guilty … but what about people who weren’t watching their email that afternoon? What about those who don’t have email? Nationwide, what about access to COVID-19 vaccinations clearly favoring certain segments of the population?

Here’s looking for the time, soon, when vaccine supply catches up with vaccination demand.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.



I feel the need to share the experiences I've had trying to get my 92yo mother a vax appointment. The first week of her eligibility, I took her in to her doctor, as recommended by the News-Register and the COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY. I was told that PMC had no vaccine at that time but even if they had vaccine, my mother was "too healthy" and they wouldn't vaccinate her at PMC. PMC directed us to the CHA, providing me with an url to a timed out form. I was able to back into the required form, allowed the required cookies, and registered my mother. After hearing nothing from the CHA for a week, I emailed them to make sure my mother's registration had been accepted. I received an email response confirming that she was registered but that I should take her to her doctor or try one of the retail pharmacies that were supposed to have vaccines in the next couple of weeks. I discovered that all of the retail pharmacies require you to join one of their "clubs" in order to even see the appointment page, so I had to give up my email and cell phone information. I have since been blessed with multiple marketing offers, none of which include any vaccination information. I actually got onto a Walgreens appointment site this morning and got a first appointment, which I lost when I hesitated on the second appointment when I noticed that they had bumped me to Salem instead of the area I had set in the request. I would have accepted the Salem location, even though car rides are difficult for my mother, but clearly, taking 15 seconds to make a decision of that nature bounced me out and I lost the first appointment as well. So almost 4 weeks into my mother's eligibility, I have no appointment for her. Several people who are two to three levels behind her in eligibility have their initial doses THROUGH THE CHA already. I know for a fact that they registered after I registered my mother because they got the registration information from me.


To continue, at 92, my mother probably has another 2 or 3 years left, so every month her vaccine is delayed is an extremely high percent of her remaining life span. Think of it in terms of a 30yo being told to spend the next 12 to 15 years in quarantine (based on the equivalent percentage of remaining life expectancy).

I understand that the vaccine is in short supply, but I have to question how the distribution levels were reached. What I've seen to date indicates that Yamhill County gets an average of 1,000 doses per week. Based on the county population, it would take FOUR YEARS to vaccinate Yamhill County at that distribution rate. (52 weeks per year, 109k population, two doses per person)

Also, while I was for distributing the vaccinations through our local drug stores, the way the system is now, the retail pharmacies are vaccinating their customers first, to the exclusion of all others. The CHA should be distributing their completed registration forms to our local pharmacies for fulfillment. Instead, the county and the state now have to incorporate information from multiple store databases into a format that the county and state can use. The technology flow is in the wrong direction, particularly for a state that has struggled building effective technology solutions (Does the Affordable Healthcare site ring any bells? How about the amazingly non-intuitive need to open a chat box to perform basic navigation of a website?)

I'm also amazed at the amount of time and effort our officials spend making themselves look competent. A friend forwarded a state produced Covid 19 newsletter which congratulated the state's ability to reach 912k first and second vaccines already. The next sentence states that the state has received 1.1M doses to date. That means that only 550k first AND second doses are possible. The implication is that 912k are fully vaccinated, but the reality is that 912k have a first OR second dose. And my mother has none.


BTW, Jeb, you may have received the email from the CHA, but my mother did not. I was not given the opportunity to even compete for one of those appointment slots for my mother. Since she's been eligible AND REGISTERED since the first week of February, I wonder exactly how the CHA determined who to should get that email.

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