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What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines in Oregon Thursday

Here are the top vaccine facts for Thursday, Feb. 25.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

How to get a COVID vaccine in Oregon

As of Feb. 22, everyone in Phase 1A and groups one, two, three and four of Phase 1B are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon. That includes:

  • Health care workers and first responders
  • Long-term care residents
  • K-12 educators and school staff
  • Childcare providers
  • People 70 and older

Oregon introduced an online tool that allows eligible residents of Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion and Columbia counties to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The eligibility tool is open to everyone in Oregon to use and ask questions.

Another helpful resource is 211. People can call 211 and ask to be transferred to the reservation call center. Operators will determine eligibility, then book a time to receive the vaccination. People can also text ORCOVID to 898211 to get text/SMS updates or email ORCOVID@211info.org.

Latest COVID-19 vaccine news

Available COVID vaccine appointments snapped up fast in Portland

With 230,000 seniors eligible for COVID-19 shots but still without their first vaccination, competition for the 3,400 doses made available Thursday morning proved intense.

At the OHSU website for the drive-through clinic at Portland’s airport, 2,400 reservations were snapped up in just 10 minutes.

At the website for the clinic at the Oregon Convention Center, 500 appointments took 90 minutes to book.

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Portland VA pushes through delays for consistent COVID vaccination process

The VA Portland Healthcare System's COVID-19 vaccination process continues to run smoothly, albeit at a slightly slower pace than previously hoped.

An expanded effort that launched in January to reach 61,000 veterans aimed to vaccinate 1,500 people per day by this point. A spokesperson for the VA said it would be capable of reaching that number if it had more vaccine. Supply is currently limiting the local VA system to about 800 daily vaccinations.

Despite the wait for boosted supply, the VA reports smooth sailing when it comes to vaccine scheduling and distribution.

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Pfizer COVID vaccine no longer needs ultra-cold temperatures, FDA says

U.S. regulators are allowing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be shipped and stored at less-frigid temperatures, which should ease distribution and administration of one of the two vaccines authorized for emergency use in the country.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it’s allowing the additional option after reviewing new data from New York-based Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech.

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Oregon Senate demands Legislature take roll in vaccine distribution

Republicans in the Oregon Senate boycotted Thursday's session, using a tactic they have employed in the past two years to assert their will by stopping work in the Democratic-led Legislature — this time over the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod said the Legislature, where the GOP is a minority, “has abdicated too much responsibility” to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. He said she must demand that teachers unions immediately send educators back into classrooms. He also demanded that the Legislature take a role in vaccine distribution and other aspects of the pandemic.

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20 million Americans have gotten both COVID vaccine doses

Days after marking a solemn milestone in the pandemic, President Joe Biden is celebrating the pace of his efforts to end it. On Thursday, Biden marked the administration of the 50 millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine since his swearing-in. The moment came days after the nation reached the devastating milestone of 500,000 coronavirus deaths and ahead of a meeting with the nation's governors on plans to speed the distribution even further.

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Fauci: Whatever COVID vaccine is available, take it

Dr. Anthony Fauci says if a coronavirus vaccine is available, regardless of which one, take it. The top U.S. infectious disease expert told NBC on Thursday a third vaccine becoming available “is nothing but good news” and would help control of the pandemic. U.S. regulators announced Wednesday that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine offers strong protection against severe COVID-19. It’s expected to be approved soon by the FDA.

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Moderna has created COVID vaccine to battle South African variant

Moderna announced Wednesday it has brewed experimental doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that better match a mutated version of the virus, ready for tests to tell how the update works.

Health authorities say first-generation COVID-19 vaccines still protect against variants of the virus that are emerging in different parts of the world. But in case the vaccines eventually need to be updated, manufacturers are working on how to tweak their recipes.

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