‘Deception on a national scale’: Oregon’s governor says federal reserve of COVID-19 vaccines is empty


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is expected to talk about the state’s ongoing response to the pandemic during a virtual press conference on Friday, hours after announcing that Oregon will not be receiving an increase in vaccine shipments next week.

On Friday morning, Brown announced that Operation Warp Speed’s General Perna has confirmed to her that states will not be receiving increased shipments of COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal stockpile as previously expected. She said this is because there is no federal reserve of doses.

Brown said she will be demanding answers from the Trump administration, calling this a “deception on the national scale.”

“I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences,” She tweeted. “Oregon’s seniors, teachers, all of us, were depending on the promise of Oregon’s share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us.”

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen was so dismayed by the news, he penned a letter to U.S. DHS Secretary Alex Azar.

In part, the letter read, “Earlier this evening, I joined a call with Governor Kate Brown and General Gustave Perna with Operation Warp Speed. During that call, he informed us there is no reserve of doses, and we are already receiving the full allocation of vaccines. If true, this is extremely disturbing, and puts our plans to expand eligibility at grave risk. Those plans were made on the basis of reliance on your statement about “releasing the entire supply” you have in reserve. If this information is accurate, we will be unable to begin vaccinating our vulnerable seniors on January 23rd as planned.”

This news and the scheduled press conference comes as Oregon ramps up its efforts to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations. The state got off to a slow start but has since risen to meet Brown’s daily vaccination goal of 12,000 doses administered per day, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Earlier in the week, Brown toured the Oregon State Fairgrounds where Salem Health and the Oregon National Guard teamed up for the state’s first mass vaccination clinic. The governor watched as the Guard gave shots to Marion County healthcare workers. Oregon is still trying to work through the tens of thousands of healthcare workers and first responders who are first in line to receive the vaccine.

A total of 146,137 first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been administered across Oregon by Thursday. All of the doses have been administered by Oregon hospitals, long-term care centers, emergency medical service agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities.

The OHA has not yet released concrete details on who will be included in the next vaccination phase. The Vaccine Advisory Committee on Thursday released its recommendations for who should get the shot next: BIPOC communities, refugees, adults 16-64 with chronic conditions, adults and youth eligible for the vaccine who are in custody, frontline workers not included in Phase 1A and 1B, multi-generational homes and low-income senior housing.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories