Salem, OR—In a press briefing with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Governor Kate Brown today announced Oregon is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all family members of frontline workers. She also announced that Oregon is expanding its criteria of underlying health conditions to match the CDC's extended list. The Governor was joined by Patrick Allen, OHA Director, and Dr. Dean Sidelinger, State Epidemiologist.
"As we move into the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to deploy a vaccine strategy that is centered on prioritizing our most vulnerable, and ensuring access to the vaccine for everyone. To do this, we need to move in a manner that is both fast and fair," said Governor Brown.
"If you are a frontline worker as defined by the CDC, when you make a vaccine appointment for yourself, make them for your whole family, too. If you’re attending a community vaccine event, bring your family with you. We know it is not easy for everyone to find the time and transportation to get a vaccine. If you’re a frontline worker making the effort, bring your family, and do it all together."
The Governor is also asking Coordinated Care Organizations and commercial health insurance providers to reach out to their members with underlying conditions to share information about the importance of vaccinations, and how to get connected to a vaccine.
The Governor warned that Oregon's increase in cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks is cause for concern: "It’s clear that, in Oregon and across the country, the fourth surge of this virus is at our doorstep. While Oregon’s case numbers fortunately haven’t matched those of other states seeing large spikes, our numbers are rising and we are back on alert.
"The good news is, now when we face a surge, we know how to protect ourselves and others with powerful safety measures like mask wearing and avoiding large social gatherings. And we have three safe and effective vaccines rapidly rolling out. But make no mistake, this is a race between the vaccines and the variants. It is a critical moment for us all to double down so we can outrun this next wave."
• A recording of today's live-streamed press conference is available on YouTube.
Please note the video starts at the 15:18 mark.
• A recording of a Spanish language translation is available on OHA's Facebook page.
• An HD recording of today's press conference for members of the media is available here.
A copy of the Governor's prepared remarks from today's press conference is available here.
More information on vaccines is available at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.