First COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Oregon

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Hospitals in Oregon on Wednesday administered the first coronavirus vaccines in the state to nurses, respiratory therapists, domestic workers and other healthcare workers with high-level jobs. risk, marking the start of a massive vaccination campaign in a state that has seen more than 1,200 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

People vaccinated at the coordinated event – streamed live over the internet – were from Legacy Health System and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center on the Oregon-Idaho border. . Vaccine shipments to other hospitals, including Salem Hospital, will continue to arrive this week.

The Oregon Health Authority has announced that it will receive 35,100 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine which has been approved by federal and western state authorities. Another vaccine manufactured by Moderna is expected to receive federal approval soon, and officials in Oregon estimate that there will be enough two vaccines to initially inoculate about 100,000 people statewide.

Vaccinations began at Legacy Health in Portland on Wednesday with five healthcare workers, including an emergency room nurse, an intensive care unit nurse, a respiratory therapist, the head of housekeeping and a radiologist.

After a countdown, the recipient’s colleagues erupted in cheers and applause as the needles stabbed their arms. Some gave five highs.

“I am taking this vaccine for my family as well as for my community,” said Mayra Gomez, an intensive care nurse. “I want to lead by example.”

At OHSU, the first COVID vaccine was given to an intensive care nurse by a dental resident under a new Oregon law that allows dentists and dental students to give injections.

And far east, along the Oregon-Idaho border, the chief of nursing at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Ontario, Oregon, rolled up her sleeve for one of the first vaccines from his institution.

Dina Ellwanger, who is also the president of the hospital, said that after receiving the vaccine, she would return to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic that the hospital had set up to allow nurses and other workers to health to get vaccinated without missing too much work. The vaccine comes at a critical time for rural communities like Ontario, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.

“Our spread has been very high. We are bordering Idaho where security measures have not been so strict, ”she said, adding that 20 people in the hospital had already been vaccinated by 11 am.

Oregon announced a record 54 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,214 people.

State health officials also recorded 1,129 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 96,092 statewide.

A spate of cases in November contributed to the high number of deaths reported on Tuesday due to delays in counting death certificates in some cases, public health officials said.

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