CORONAVIRUS, Health, Oregon

First COVID-19 vaccines administered in Oregon

Ansu Drammeh, R.N., a cardiovascular intensive care nurse at OHSU, is given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday, December 16 by Ryan Thrower, D.M.D., who, according to OHSU, is the first dental resident in the United States to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.

Staff members at several Oregon hospitals have been vaccinated today with the  Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, kicking off the initial steps of an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. State officials say there will be enough doses in December to give the initial dose of the two-dose vaccine to 100,000 people working in the medical field and to those in long-term care facilities, followed by the second dose in January 2021.

What comes next is not clear, with no grasp of when the state will receive more doses from the federal government after the initial shipments. 

Oregon was the second-to-last state in the union to begin administering the vaccine, with only Tennessee behind the Beaver State, the Oregonian reported. 

The first people in Oregon to be vaccinated — outside of clinical trials — were workers at Ontario’s Saint Alphonsus Medical Center. After that, a press conference with Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen saw workers from Legacy Health, St. Alphonsus, and Oregon Health & Science University receive vaccinations during a livestream. 

“This is the moment we have all been waiting for,” said Brown. “We kick off this historic vaccine campaign in Oregon with our health care workers, who have been our first line of defense against COVID-19. Today they received the first vaccinations in our state. These heroes have poured everything they have into this fight. And to all our health care workers, we thank you.

“With these vaccinations, we finally can begin the long, steady process of turning the tide on the pandemic. But until we can achieve community levels of immunity, we all must stay the course and continue to practice the safety measures we know can make an impact and stop the spread of this virus. I am so grateful to the majority of Oregonians who are following the recommendations of our public health experts by physically distancing, wearing a mask and limiting gatherings.”

It will likely be sometime in the spring of 2021 or later before vaccinations could be widely available, health officials have said, leaving officials to plead with citizens to maintain social distancing, mask-wearing, handwashing, and other measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

A state website with more information on the vaccination process can be found at

A draft plan for distribution of the vaccine developed by OHA can be viewed here; as more vaccines become available and information about availability of current vaccines becomes known, the plan is likely to change.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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