Oregon Governor Kate Brown is once again accelerating the state’s deadline for COVID-19 vaccines.
In a news release early Tuesday, Brown announced that all Oregonians 16 and older will be eligible for vaccinations beginning April 19, nearly two weeks before the May 1 date that state officials had previously announced.
“Today, Oregon will exceed the threshold of 2 million doses of vaccines administered. And yet, in Oregon communities, COVID-19 is spreading at worrying rates, ”Brown said in a statement. “We have to move as fast as possible to get more shots to the arms.”
The announcement comes as Oregon has repeatedly accelerated its schedule for vaccine eligibility in recent days. On Monday, frontline workers gained access to the vaccines, along with the adults living with them.
“Over the next two weeks, we will dedicate all available resources to ensuring that Oregon’s frontline workers and people with underlying conditions have access to vaccines, two groups in which Oregonians in communities of color are predominantly represented, ”Brown said. “My office will work closely with the White House to ensure that Oregon receives our fair share of federal vaccine supplies, so that we can continue a prompt, fair and equitable vaccine distribution process.”
Oregon’s adjustment to the immunization schedule reflects an expected acceleration nationwide. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that President Joe Biden is expected to announce that all American adults age 16 and older nationwide will be eligible for vaccines beginning April 19.
Along with other states, Oregon has seen an increase in new infections and hospitalizations in recent weeks, raising concerns about a “fourth wave” of the pandemic. The numbers are still well below the peak the state experienced in late 2020.