Lane County Public Health doesn’t expect to fully vaccinate the public until fall at its current speed, spokesman Jason Davis said. The county opened pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccines to the general public on Feb. 4.
“Local government is at the bottom of the food chain in terms of making decisions about when folks get vaccinated,” Davis said. “It could be a while before we get through all of the higher risk groups.”
Each week, the Oregon Health Authority allocates a certain number of Pfizer and Moderna doses to each county and assigns them to specific prioritized groups. Lane County typically receives around 6,000 doses each week, Davis said. As of Feb. 2, just over 3% of residents have received the first and second doses.
However, vaccination rates could pick up in the future. Davis said OHA would prioritize sending a steady supply of vaccines to counties with mass vaccination clinics up and running. Lane County falls into this category, Davis said, so Lane County Public Health may start receiving more doses in the coming weeks.
Lane County and the University of Oregon are also planning on teaming up to facilitate mass vaccination clinics on campus in the future.
“The university has the facilities to hold vaccination clinics if needed, and that might be something we see next fall,” Davis said.
All UO students will be able to get the vaccine through Lane County, even if they are from outside Oregon, since students are considered residents, Davis said.
Residents 65 years and older will not become eligible until March 1, but the next group will be people ages 16 to 65 with pre-existing conditions. Some UO students may fall into this category and could receive vaccines as soon as mid-March. Davis said that all students should pre-register so that they can get appointments as soon as their group becomes eligible.
Many UO students have already filled out the form in hopes that they can receive their vaccine as soon as possible.
“I’m just hoping that by next year, things will be better, and I can have a normal senior year,” said Julianna Harney, a UO junior who pre-registered to be vaccinated through Lane County.
Davis said that vaccines will be free for all Lane County residents and health insurance is not required.
The pre-registration form, located on the LCPH website, is meant to collect the data of those who wish to receive the vaccine and share it with the county’s health partners. The county will contact residents once they become eligible. The form received nearly 80,000 submissions in the first week, Davis said.
Lane County held a mass vaccination clinic on Feb. 14, where they planned to give 1,500 people who currently qualify the first dose. Davis said every appointment made for this event was done using the pre-registration form.
“We’re encouraging everyone to pre-register, especially students, so the process can go smoothly and we can get a vaccine into the arm of everyone who wants one,” he said.