Oregon Governor: ‘No Federal Reserve’ of Virus Vaccine Doses

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday that the state’s efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations for those over 65 and teachers have been thrown into disarray because of “deception on a national scale” by the Trump administration.

Brown said in a statement on Friday morning that she was told late Thursday by Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the leader of the “Operation Warp Speed” federal vaccine effort, that states will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week “because there is no federal reserve of doses.”

Oregon announced earlier this week that it would expand vaccines eligibility to Oregon’s roughly 760,000 residents who are 65 and older, K-12 teachers and child care providers because of promises that the state’s vaccine allotment was to be increased. The news was welcomed, particularly by teachers who are headed back to in-person learning next month in some school districts.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar late Thursday that the change in dose allotments, if true, would

“Those plans were made on the basis of reliance on your statement about ‘releasing the entire supply’ you have in reserve. If this information is accurate, we will be unable to begin vaccinating our vulnerable seniors on January 23rd as planned,” he wrote.

Brown, who has scheduled a news conference for Friday afternoon, said she was “shocked and appalled.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said the news was “completely unacceptable” for Americans counting on the vaccines.

“I’ll be pressing for answers,” he said in a tweet Friday. “New leadership can’t come soon enough.”

On Thursday, officials from the Oregon Health Authority announced that vaccination sites had met the goal of administering a total of 12,000 coronavirus vaccine doses a day. The state has administered a cumulative total of 146,137 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

At Mary’s Woods Senior Living, a retirement community in the suburbs of Portland, the news hit hard.

Several residents at the retirement’s live-in care facility have COVID-19, and some in its independent living apartments, in a separate area of the campus, are terrified the virus could spread to them soon.

“My husband was just saying it could be another day or two before we get the vaccine, but I guess that’s not the case now,“ said Joan Burns, 75, who was visiting with her daughter at an outdoor table at a café on campus.

Burns said she has been isolated for months and can only see her daughter outside for brief visits.

“I have to conserve my energy so I can’t take it too personally. But I’m pretty disappointed,” she said. “We’re sequestered, and it’s difficult to talk to anybody. I am as anxious as I’ve ever been, and I know it’s escalating. We’re just playing the odds right now, really.”


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