More than 160,000 of the state’s oldest residents will become eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine starting Monday, Feb. 8.
That week will mark the first time Oregonians who are 80 or older and living independently (i.e., not residents at a long-term care facility or another congregate setting) may receive the immunization.
Those who are older and more infirm are far more susceptible to serious complications and death from the coronavirus — something that has been known since the pandemic first hit the state almost one year ago.
The risks for those 80 and older are particularly frightening: While representing only about 4% of Oregon’s population, that group accounts for well over half of the state’s deaths from Covid-19 (1,041 of 1,991 as of Wednesday).
Starting Feb. 8, people age 80 and older can begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The Oregon Health Authority is committed to getting all older Oregonians vaccinated. There will be more seniors who want to get vaccinated than there will be vaccines available to them. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/IxRT44l7qA
School staff became eligible for the immunizations on Jan. 25, a full two weeks ahead of the oldest and most vulnerable Oregonians.
The governor defended the difficult decision she made, citing the educational and emotional impacts the long-term school closures have had on students and families.
Still, her course made Oregon one of the only states in the country that has not yet begun inoculating at least some of their oldest and most vulnerable residents based on age groups — despite supply limitations and other challenges that have been common to all.
After those 80 and older, other older Oregonians will become eligible in subsequent weeks, with the plan to make the vaccine available to everyone 65 and older by the end of February.
Shots for those 75 to 79 (an estimated 134,000 people) will start Feb. 15, 70 to 74 (206,000) on Feb. 22 and 65 to 69 (258,000) on March 1.
More than half a million residents are currently eligible for the vaccine, including 105,000 educators and support staff, and nearly 370,000 have received at least one dose of the two-shot series, according to the latest numbers from the state.