By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: The race is on in ‘Vaccine Games’

In 10 days, all Oregonians age 16 and over will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. The race to herd immunity is on.

Frustrations will soar without promised increases in vaccine allocations, but those numbers actually will drop next week due to a major reduction in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Risks of COVID-19 remain high with the recent rise in Oregon cases and deaths, accompanied by reduced protective care taken by people who want and need a return to pre-pandemic normalcy.


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

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We feel the spring light on our faces; we want to believe it’s the home stretch when actually we are rounding a mid-race bend; we need to remember an enduring resolution: “Don’t be the last person to die of COVID-19.”

Last week, every member of a family in Marion County was stricken by COVID-19, apparently due to exposure during a church gathering. One of the adults, reportedly “hit like a truck,” had received a first dose of vaccine four weeks before. The race is on, but the risks remain.

All adults can register for text and/or email notifications of vaccination clinic opportunities, but be prepared for rejections unless vaccine availability increases.

For example, a text message this week from Yamhill County Health Department announced a Thursday vaccination clinic at McMinnville High School. Clicking the link produced this message: “No times are available in the next month (from May 6, 2021, to June 5, 2021).” That confusing message later was corrected to say no times are available from April 8 to May 7.

People have various options: monitor text and email messages closely for early signup to vaccine clinics here and in surrounding counties; keep calling the health clinics, pharmacies and Grand Ronde Tribe that receive weekly vaccine doses; hang around the end of vaccination clinics in case there are leftover doses that must be administered or lost.

By the numbers:

Oregon receives 1.28 percent of national vaccine doses – that’s our percentage of the U.S. population. Our total vaccine allocation was 246,200 doses last week, 261,460 this week and 209,700 next week. The 61,400 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine received this week drops to 7,300 next week, as J&J struggles with the impact of manufacturing problems at a huge plant in Baltimore.

Oregon COVID-19 cases had dropped from 1,424 daily over two weeks in mid-December to 304 daily in mid-March. That number rose to 418 daily average in the past two weeks, with 51 deaths from last Friday through Wednesday.

The race continues; make sure you reach the finish line safely.

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