By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Oregonians urged to get vaccinated

A total of more than 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority, including pediatric doses to children ages 5 to 11, and booster doses for fully vaccinated adults. The count includes all shots given in a series. 

On Tuesday, at a drive-through vaccine clinic in Yamhill County, drivers waited up to three hours for shots.

The state also began issuing statements about the new Omicron variant discovered in late November.

A second case of the variant, thought to be more transmissable and more vaccine-evasive, was detected in the United States this week.

Dean E. Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist, said in a press release this week that the best thing Oregonians can do in response to the news is to get their vaccinations and continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and other basic precautions.

“Omicron is reported to be more transmissible than the Delta variant as it’s quickly outcompeted Delta in South Africa, but we do not yet know how much more transmissible it is. We also don’t know how Omicron affects vaccine effectiveness against severe infection (hospitalization and death). The vaccines have remained highly effective against other variants, and we expect the same to be true with Omicron,” Sidelinger said.

The CEO of Moderna warned this week there are indications that vaccines may be less effective against Omicron, although experts have noted that less effective doesn’t mean ineffective.

“The best way to protect yourself against Omicron, or any variant of COVID-19 that is circulating, is to be vaccinated. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19. Those who are not yet vaccinated should get their first COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Those due for a booster – all adults either two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccination or six months after a Moderna or Pfizer vaccination – should get it as soon as possible. Wearing a mask when inside public places as well as social distancing and handwashing remain incredibly important in the face of an emerging variant and high levels of community transmission,” Sidelinger said.

Wednesday’s weekly report from the Oregon Health Authority said there were 25% fewer cases reported from Monday, Nov. 22 through Sunday Nov. 28, although it noted the drop was “in the context of a 28% reduction in reported test results, likely related to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.”

Test positivity also declined, it said, from 6% to 5.6%. Infections among children continue to increase. So far, children have been less affected by COVID-19 than adults, although child hospitalizations and deaths increased in some places during surges of the Delta variant last summer. In Oregon, the OHA said, 1.4% of children infected with COVID-19 have been hospitalized since Sept. 4.

The OHA said that death reports also dropped last week, to 125 from 214, although it said the drop may have been the result of technicians finally working through a backlog of reports from deaths that took place over the summer.

Hospital capacity has eased slightly, with 49 adult ICU beds available statewide on Thursday, and 312 non-ICU beds.

In the six-county region that encompasses Yamhill County, there were five adult ICU beds available, and 25 non-ICU beds.

The OHA reported 1,046 new cases on Thursday, and 42 new deaths. To date, there have been 5,228 deaths in the state.

Yamhill County reported one new death this week, and 18 new cases on Thursday, bringing the county to a total to date of 9,806 cases and 143 deaths. A 69-year-old woman tested positive Sept. 23 and died Nov. 16 at her residence.

County Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin did not answer questions from the News-Register about local vaccine demand, by press time.

The county reported in its daily data update that 59.8% of the population 5 and older has been fully vaccinated, and 64.9% are at least partially vaccinated.

The county has several weekly vaccine clinics scheduled throughout December.



Two weeks, she said.


“ It’s going to go away, hopefully at the end of the month, and if not, hopefully it will be soon after that”
— Donald Trump—March 31, 2020

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