PORTLAND, Ore. — The sign-up process for COVID-19 vaccination in the Portland metro area will change yet again on Monday. Rather than hundreds of thousands of people scrambling to find thousands of appointments, eligible people will be notified when a dose is available for them.
During a briefing with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Director Patrick Allen acknowledged the difficulty seniors and their families have had securing appointments to receive the vaccine.
Oregon's scheduling website has crashed and not functioned properly, a major source of frustration for many Oregonians. On Thursday alone, the sign-up site saw 400,000 attempts at vaccine appointments.
Allen said starting Monday, the state will try something new. They'll use the information people have submitted at the state's Get Vaccinated Oregon tool as an "invitation system" he said.
The names of eligible people in the metro area will be gleaned from the Get Vaccinated Oregon database and their information will be sent to the state's partners at the Oregon Convention Center, one of Oregon's mass vaccination sites.
"They'll contact you to schedule an appointment," Allen said, "so you don't have to wait for three hours clicking in hopes of getting one. We hope this change will make the experience better."
Officials also said that on Tuesday the clinic will move to a larger and more accessible space within the convention center.
Allen said the next week or two will likely remain frustrating because it will still be hard to get appointments. Oregon has received more than one million doses of the vaccine but there are 1.3 million Oregonians currently eligible to get vaccinated. Allen said he expects the allocation of the vaccines to ramp up quickly starting in mid-March.
Allen said the state's vaccination eligibility timeline is dependent on the promised supply of the vaccine arriving in Oregon, "based on information we've received from the federal government and testimony by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in Congress in recent days," Allen said.
At the Portland International Airport mass vaccination site, the Red Economy Parking Lot will continue its online schedule release on Monday for seniors with mobility needs, individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.
All other groups will receive an updated message saying the Oregon Convention Center scheduling tool is closed and that they should sign up at the Get Vaccinated tool to be notified when future appointments are available.
People who already have an appointment scheduled will not be impacted by this change.
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