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Oregon lays out initial plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Oregon's plan uses a phased approach, with the expectation that a vaccine could initially be in limited supply once it's deemed safe and effective.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nine companies are in the race to find the first COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, three are in Stage 3 trials -- the last before they could be deemed safe.

As a vaccine nears completion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to know how states will distribute shots to their populations. It ordered each state to file a plan by Friday, Oct. 16, and now the public is learning the details.

Oregon's plan for the vaccine stretches over 136 pages. Much of the first section talks about groups of people treated unfairly in the past including the Latinx community and people of color, groups that are left more vulnerable to the virus. There is a focus on making sure those groups are not left out this time.

As for who would get a limited amount of vaccine, Oregon follows the suggestions the CDC laid out. The first phase assumes a limited amount of shots available. They would go to health care workers who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to coronavirus patients.

If there were shots left over, the vaccine would be given to other essential workers and people at a higher risk of severe reactions to the virus, including anyone living in long term care and 65 or older.

Phase 2 assumes a large number of doses available. It would target highly affected communities not completely covered in Phase 1 and focus on racial and ethnic minorities, tribal members, prisoners, the homeless and others. Shots would be distributed through a broad network of doctors’ offices, clinics, retail pharmacies, public health clinics and others.

The state would also use existing vaccination networks set up for the H1N1 virus.

The plan is not final. It is expected to evolve in the months ahead as more is learned about likely vaccines, including safety, effectiveness, side effects, storage, supply, distribution and administration.

Read Oregon’s entire plan here