By editorial board • 

Oregon's vaccine rollout is lagging badly behind

 

In virtually every corner of the U.S., which was struck harder by COVID-19 than any other place on the planet, reality is running well behind promise when it comes to vaccine rollout. And according to The Oregonian, our state ranks 41st among the 50 — a dismal showing even by dismal standards.

Officials projected that by year's end end, 20 million doses would be administered across the country, 100,000 of them in Oregon. But in reality, only 2.8 million were administered, only 31,000 of them in Oregon.

Oregon counts almost 4.2 million residents.

State officials set a goal of administering 12,000 doses a day. Effective protection requires two doses, so it would, even at that ambitious rate, take two years to reach everyone.

Granted, vaccination is not recommended for those under 16, and unfounded fears could lead a million or more adults to opt out. But we'd still be looking at a rollout stretching into 2022. And we just entered 2021.

So far, we're averaging about 1,700 vaccinations a day, a just 7 percent of the target rate. Even making allowance for the usual startup glitches and holiday havoc, that suggests we have a lot of work to do.

The federal government abdicated virtually all responsibility for combating the virus effectively at the national level, leaving the states on their own. It helped coordinate and facilitate vaccine development, but is once again leaving the states on their own when it comes to distribution, storage, prioritization and administration.

Gov. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania complained, "There is no federal organization, no federal rollout, no coordination between the federal government and state governments." Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah fumed, "That comprehensive vaccination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models is an incomprehensible as it is inexcusable."

However, the federal buck-passing was eminently predictable. The states had plenty of notice, so should have had plans in place well in advance.

Oregon claims it did. On Dec. 10, Gov. Kate Brown promised "the vaccine program of our lifetime," assuring Oregonians, "We have policies and programs in place to vaccinate all Oregonians, and we are pulling every one of those levers."

That rivals the rosy prognosis Donald Trump was tweeting on the federal level, and seems to holding up no better.

If misery loves company, we've got plenty of it. Newspapers report "growing frustration" in Georgia, "slow vaccine rollout' in Kentucky, "unpredictable shipments" in Ohio, a "sluggish start" in the District of Columbia, a "rocky start" in Maryland, "bumps" in Massachusetts, "confusion" in Nebraska.

Even so, "We're No. 41" isn't something to brag about.

The simple truth is, th train left the station quicker in most states than it did here. We're running a day late and a lot of shots short as we trundle down the tracks.

Brown realizes Oregon needs to ramp up at warp speed, and has given the Oregon Health Authority two weeks to reach the target rate of 12,000 immunizations a day.

"Let me be clear," she said Tuesday. "We must vaccinate Oregonians as quickly as possible. Oregon families, schools and businesses are counting on rapid vaccine distribution. We all are."

Those are stirring words. We can only hope stirring action will follow.

 

Comments

LML

"Has given the Oregon Health Authority 2 weeks to reach the target" - I's the 3 week in January and she's setting up a system and pushing her goals. Her plan should of been executed far before the Vaccination was even approved. And it should of been practiced.....to find the kinks. We've seen how those "goals" and empty promises worked for the Unemployment Dept.....yea that worked really well. She can't blame Trump for that catastrophy. That alone is reason for her to be recalled. She's been failing for years....

Vet24

I agree with LML and would add that even California is ahead of us. My 65 year old friend in Lake Tahoe got his today and I'm still waiting.