Oregon has, unofficially, decided who will be included in the next phase of the vaccine rollout. The vaccine advisory committee met on Thursday and finalized a basic list, which was then sent to the Oregon Health Authority.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the rollout. It’s not the vaccine advisory committee’s task to answer all of them, but their decision Thursday represents an important step that allows OHA to work further on logistics.
Currently, Oregon is vaccinating healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. That’s Phase 1a. Educators and people over the age of 65 will go first in Phase 1b, as announced by Oregon. Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday.
Per the committee’s recommendations, the rest of Phase 1b will include:
- people in communities of color, specifically those most impacted by the pandemic: “Black, African-American, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, indigenous peoples, tribal and urban-based native communities, and Pacific Islanders.”
- Refugee communities
- adults 16-64 with chronic conditions
- people in custody
- frontline workers not already included in Phase 1a or 1b
- multigenerational homes
- people in low-income senior housing and other congregate senior housing not covered in the other categories.
The recommendations do not include any information about the sequence vaccines will be rolled out in, or how vaccinations will be prioritized. That will be addressed in next week’s meeting. Next, the list of people in Phase 1b will be run past OHAs lawyers, and OHA employees will work on how to actually get the vaccine to those groups of people. OHA public health director Rachael Banks told committee members she plans to present details of that plan on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
This is the third time this group has met since it formed one week ago. Initially, the committee was scheduled to meet for two hours once a week. After members raised concerns that the process would take too long, additional optional meetings were added on Tuesdays.