PORTLAND, Ore — Oregon’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) met for the first time Thursday to discuss how critical workers and at-risk populations will be prioritized in the state’s vaccine rollout, health officials said.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said that the VAC will co-create a vaccine sequencing plan to focus on health equity. They want the sequencing to prioritize populations who are most at-risk and hardest hit by the pandemic.
In a press release, health officials said that following the Phase 1a group, educators and other staff at pre-kindergarten to grade 12 schools and early learning centers will be the state’s next immediate vaccination priority.
The VAC is also considering how to prioritize critical workers, such as transportation workers and grocery store workers, older adults, people with underlying conditions and other factors.
“Urgency,” said Cherity Bloom-Miller, VAC member with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Community Health Clinic. “We need to make some fast decisions to get vaccines out quickly.”
“The decisions you’re going to make will be incredibly hard and we’re asking you to make them incredibly quickly,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen.
The 27-member committee represents health organizations, nonprofits and businesses across rural and urban Oregon – including older adults, people with disabilities, cultural and ethnic communities, migrant and seasonal farm workers.
The next VAC meeting will be on Thurs., Jan. 14 at 10 a.m.