Oregon could see first COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive before Christmas: Governor

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said on Friday that 147,950 COVID-19 vaccine doses could arrive for the state's health care workers this month as case numbers shoot upward.

Joined virtually by the Oregon Health Authority's Director Patrick Allen and Public Health Division Director Rachael Banks, the governor urged Oregonians to mask up and stay home if possible as health officials prepare for inoculating a state of four million people.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is slated to meet on December 8 to review a leading vaccine candidate from pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

According to Allen, 35,100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be shipped to Oregon by December 15 if approved by the agency. Another 40,950 first doses could arrive by December 22.

Pfizer's own data from November suggests its vaccine may be 95% effective based on the results of its Phase 3 human trial.

Moderna claims its vaccine could be 94.5% effective based on its Phase 3 clinical studies and will be considered for approval by the FDA on December 17.

If approved, the Moderna vaccine could see 71,900 first doses sent to Oregon by December 22, Allen said.

An additional 87,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 31,700 more doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected by December 29 to begin providing second doses.

It is unknown how long the vaccines will provide protection which is why more human trials monitoring participants are expected to continue.

Common side effects from the vaccines can last up to several days, Banks said. They include fever, headaches, soreness, joint pain, and fatigue.

Oregon is among a host of states including Washington and California that will independently review a FDA-approved vaccine through a panel of health experts.

The state has also promised to prioritize vaccinations for health care workers as well as long-term care facilities down the line.

When asked by reporters, Banks said the state will be assembling a task force to consider how it prioritizes medically vulnerable and other disadvantaged groups should more doses be slow in coming.

Brown and other officials at Friday's virtual conference highlighted their trust of the process, saying each of them will take the vaccine as soon as it is available.

The governor and OHA officials also urged Oregonians to mask up and stay at home if possible in the meantime.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel but we are not there yet,” Brown said. “I’ve said this before but it needs to be said again, we are not, we are not out of the crisis yet. Our hardest days still lie ahead.”

State epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger said on Friday that any surge in cases from Thanksgiving are likely to show up in next week's numbers at the very earliest due to dips in testing over the long holiday weekend.

At least 15 Oregon medical facilities have become active COVID-19 outbreaks according to the OHA's most recent weekly report just as the state's adult ICU wards stood at 75% capacity on Friday.

As of Friday, 26 of Oregon's 36 counties were considered at “Extreme Risk” of COVID-19 surges since Brown's two-week shutdown ended on Wednesday.

Under the risk tier, food service establishments may reopen, but are limited to 50 outdoor diners and stores are limited to 50% capacity.

On Friday, the OHA announced 2,176 new reported cases of COVID-19 and 30 more reported deaths. Those numbers bring the state's total caseload to 81,437 and the death toll to 1,003 people.





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