ENTERPRISE — Wallowa County's plan — as well as the plan of the rest of Oregon — to get vaccinations to seniors next week has undergone a major shift.
Gov. Kate Brown on Friday, Jan. 15, announced the state was not going to be receiving the "increased shipment of vaccines" it expected to get from the federal stockpile — a number that would have increased the supply in the state to open vaccinations to educators and senior citizens — and that vaccination of those group was going to be delayed.
She said in a press conference Friday afternoon that educators would be eligible to get their immunization shots beginning Jan. 25, while senior citizens would be delayed two weeks — to Feb. 8 — before they would be eligible to get vaccinated. The other major caveat is that the vaccinations of senior citizens would begin with the 80-and-above age demographic — a group that has accounted for more than half of the state's 1,758 COVID deaths.
The governor's office and Oregon Health Authority said late Tuesday it had received word the state would be getting additional doses of the vaccine to further the rollout, and that next weekend it would be able to begin inoculations for educators and those 65 and older.
That changed after Brown, in a tweet Friday morning, announced the promised additional vaccines would not be coming from the federal government next week, which she said was confirmed by General Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed.
Only the extra vaccine that was coming is not any longer. The present weekly allotment the state gets, though, should not be hindered.
Brown said during the press conference Friday that news meant there would be a change in how the vaccine is allocated to seniors.
Those 80 and older will be first in line starting Feb. 8. Age 75 and above will be eligible a week later, with 70 and then 65, respectively, becoming eligible once those inoculations are complete.
In Wallowa County, the news meant a major shift in how the local vaccines will be given to area residents. While there still will be vaccinations given at the Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise Tuesday, Jan. 19, and Friday, Jan. 22, who gets them has changed. Educators and the final remaining Phase 1A vaccine recipients who already signed up will still be eligible to get shots beginning Tuesday.
But that means there will be a rescheduling of many of the 500 inoculation appointments that had already been set up for for next week.
Any senior citizens under age 80 who had signed up to get inoculated will be moved to a waiting list to make room for residents 80 and above who have not yet signed up to get shots, according to Wallowa Memorial Hospital Communications Director Brooke Pace. Those 80 and above who wish to get immunized are to call 541-426-5437. Pace said those already on a waiting list "would be moved to next week depending on supply."
Once those 80 and above are immunized, the county will move to the 75-and-up group, then down through the age ranges according to the methodology set up by the state. Those under 80 who had signed up will receive a call notifying them of their move to the waiting list.
WMH was still readjusting its plans as of Friday afternoon.
Currently, there are more than 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine in Wallowa County, with more second-round doses coming next week, Pace said earlier Friday.