Wasco County Commissioners Meeting recap 12/02

Wasco County Commissioners held their first meeting in a month yesterday, and one of the most anticipated reports was that of Dr. Mimi McDonell of the North Central Health District. She had some surprising, but welcome news:

“The Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in Oregon in mid-December. Pat Allen, head of the OHA,   said, and it’s in print, so I’m going to believe it. Logistics will be a challenge, but we feel our plans and things that we are creating are going to be up to that. Other things for people to know is that this will require two doses, though, and it’s a month apart so to make sure, like, one is not enough. I’ve got to come back and get it.”

A statement released by the OHA today was a little more cautious. It said that Oregon has joined a coalition of western states, including Washington, California, Nevada and Colorado, which is reviewing all vaccines for safety, along with the federal government, and if approved, a limited supply will be available in December.

McDonell emphasized that initial indications are that Oregon might get only 30,000 doses in the initial shipment.

hat leads to the question of setting priorities on who gets the vaccine first. That has not been determined completely by the Oregon Health Authority, though McDonell said it was likely priorities would be set by the federal government. She told commissioners her understanding was that the feds’ first priority to front-line health care workers, followed by other health care workers and essential workers: 

“Essential workers is a very loose term, but that means for the most part workers in the food industry, agricultural industry, transportation, education, energy, water, waste water, law enforcement, things like that, so the people who work hard to make sure our daily lives are still functioning.”  

If the tentative federal plan is adopted, she said they would be followed by residents of long-term care facilities, others in the elderly population, people with underlying medical conditions, underserved racial and minority groups, those living in congregate or unsheltered living conditions then everybody else. 

Though there hope on the horizon, we still have a dark period to go through before we get there, as Chair Scott Hege noted at the close of the meeting:

“Have a great day and please keep safe. I think that what we heard in our Covid update today was that things are not good but we just need to keep doing the kind of things that we know are going to keep us and our family safe and eventually we’re going to be back together and doing the same thing we’ve done forever.”