PORTLAND, Day. (AP) – Oregon made national headlines when it ranked teachers ahead of its oldest residents for a short supply of COVID-19 vaccine, and then again when a committee advising the governor on vaccine fairness flirted to turn the race around. decisive for the case when a person can be vaccinated.
Three months after the vaccine was released, the government has launched a pilot program that allows some federal health centers to offer pictures to anyone they serve, even if that patient does not fall into the currently acceptable categories. These centers still need to prioritize patients who are currently eligible under Oregon law, but the pilot program gives more space to health care providers for the population at higher risk, resolving the conflict between federal and state vaccine justice priorities.
Last month, the Biden administration began distributing vaccines to federally qualified health centers as part of a program aimed at targeting economically disadvantaged Americans, seasonal migrant farmers, and Americans living in poverty.
But those centers in Oregon and Washington tied their hands, because state vaccine eligibility rules had not yet been applied to migrant farmers, pre-existing or vulnerable groups, and they could not be filmed.
The shutdown was “incredibly frustrating,” but the pilot program in Oregon will address those issues, said Lori Kelly, senior quality director at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, which treats 180,000 patients a year in east Washington, west Oregon. He said about a third of those patients were seasonal farm workers, and that clinics offered treatment regardless of their ability to pay.
“They live in groups of four to six rooms, they work, live, eat and sleep in groups. “If one of their supporters gets sick, they all miss working time,” he said.
Kelly’s organization is mediating the state of Washington to create a similar pilot program there. Washington currently allows residents over the age of 65, health care providers, first responders, and people over the age of 50 who live in multi-generational households, including children, parents, and vaccines.
In Oregon, those who can be shot now include paramedics, first responders, teachers, early educators, and residents over the age of 65. Pre-existing 45-year-olds, seasonal migrant farmers, food processors, the homeless and those affected by last summer’s forest fires will be eligible on March 29.
President Biden’s announcement Thursday that all Americans should be eligible for the vaccine by May 1 only underscores the potential of the pilot program when it comes to achieving that goal in Oregon.
“We have so many people from that next stage who are waiting as patiently as possible to get this vaccine, to choose between feeding their family and getting sick every day. It’s just amazing,” Kelly said of the Oregon pilot. ,
Oregon health spokesman Rudy Owens says seven health centers plan to receive a total of 3,700 doses of vaccine a week from the state.
Owens said health centers have been given the “flexibility” to vaccinate any individual they serve, including 16-year-olds, but the health authority is asking centers to try to use the eligibility stages as a guide when choosing. who will vaccinate.
The health body և marzpetaran will review the results of the pilot project over the next few weeks.
According to health data, white people make up 75% of Oregonians. Although they account for only about 49% of coronavirus cases, they account for 71% of all vaccinations.
Hispanic people make up 13% of Oregonians, but make up 26% of COVID-19 cases, or 4% of all vaccinations to date. Blacks make up 2% of the state բնակ 1 1% of the vaccine population.
Officials are hopeful the new pilot program will help reduce these discrepancies.
Part-time health centers include La Clinica del Valle, Multnomah County Health Centers, and Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, which focus on serving different communities in Oregon.
Klein is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national nonprofit program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.