Covid vaccine is expiring in Oregon

As I've been saying for weeks now, Oregon's rollout of the Covid vaccine is inept. Yesterday we learned that one hospital chain here actually threw away 27 doses of The Precious because they couldn't find anyone else that they were allowed to give it to.

Legacy Health wasted 27 doses when it couldn't find health care workers to take surplus vaccine before it expired.

As we used to say back in New Jersey, "no buenno." For Pete's sake, just walk into the hospital cafeteria and give it to the first 27 people who raise their hands! 

Even worse, when the reporters asked the state health authority about the wasted vaccine, nobody down there even knew it had happened.

And when you look at the official Oregon dashboard on the subject, it sure looks like we're heading for no more vaccinations this week than last week. Check out Monday the 4th – fewer than New Year's Eve:

There have reportedly been about 225,000 doses delivered to Oregon since December 14. Fewer than 30 percent of those have gotten into arms.

This is totally, utterly, outrageously unacceptable.

Other states are doing much better. Take Connecticut, for example. They've gotten more than 62 percent of their supply administered. How?

They spent some of the nine months they had to get ready for this hiring somebody from the outside who knows what they're doing. They have an inventory system in place that makes sure none of the vaccine goes to waste, as is happening in Oregon. 

And probably most importantly, Connecticut is not being a bunch of bureaucratic dolts when it comes to rule making and rule enforcement. They're putting speed and efficiency ahead of focus-group hand-wringing and rigid enforcement of a pecking order:

Perhaps one of the most important factors is that the state’s plan allows for some flexibility in who qualifies for a vaccine, prioritizing getting shots into arms over strictly following a preset roadmap for how vaccines will be distributed....

“I think [Governor Ned Lamont] put fewer rules in place than a state like New York did about who can get the doses and who can’t get the doses,” says Howard P. Forman MD, MBA, director of the Yale School of Public Health Health Care Management Program in New Haven, Connecticut. “I don’t think he scared people [distributing vaccines] by saying, ‘if you go anywhere outside these lines I am going to take you to jail.’ I think right now we need compassionate stewardship so that we get through this process as well as we can.”

Forman says the state is letting health care facilities figure out who qualifies as a phase one vaccine candidate. “If you look at New York, it’s far more prescriptive as to who is a health care worker and who is a frontline and who is a patient-facing health care worker,” he says. “I think our hospitals and health care systems have it in their interest to vaccinate health care workers and frontline health care workers first, but you also want to make sure that if you have doses around, that you are getting them out there as quickly as possible.”

No kidding. Kate Brown, Patrick Allen – please get someone who can get this done at least halfway competently. Find them some money. Lay off a few bike path planners and p.r. flacks if you have to. And then get out of the way.


  1. To your point: I'm all for making sure vaccinations for marginalized groups is addressed in the next phases, but this is becoming lunacy. Allen is going to go with the recs of the group listed below, but we have to wait until they decide in another meeting whether to actually support the vaccine in the first place?? The pandering and making sure every person gets a say needs to stop. If this is the decision making process that will be directing the next phases of vaccination, we are truly screwed. Excerpts from the article in The O yesterday:

    A group of Oregonians responsible for recommending who should be next in line for coronavirus inoculations spent much of its first substantive meeting Thursday getting their bearings on the fundamentals of the state’s immunization program and outlining how health systems have disadvantaged minorities.The 27-member Vaccine Advisory Committee is charged with advising the Oregon Health Authority on who should get shots of the coronavirus vaccine once health care workers and senior care residents and staff have been vaccinated, with a particular focus on ensuring historically marginalized groups get shots.

    The committee’s three-hour meeting did not result in any decisions for the appropriate vaccination order. One proposed vote, whether the group should endorse the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines, was tabled until the next meeting so the members could learn more.

    Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said his agency would follow the committee’s recommendations.

    “We’re going to go with your answers because you represent the communities most directly impacted by the coronavirus,” Allen said during the meeting.

    Zhenya Abbruzzese, a committee member representing Oregon’s Slavic community, wanted to establish that everyone was in favor of the coronavirus vaccine, asking if the members were “willing to put our credibility behind and promote it to our communities.”

    At least one member said she didn’t know enough about the vaccine, and the committee tabled a vote on the question until its members have the opportunity to learn more. The committee will meet again Jan. 14.


    1. EDIT: My bojack protocol is to open articles in new tabs where the headline sounds interesting and then go through them. After I posted this comment I then went to my next tab, which was the post about this particular meeting. Sorry to have jumped the gun.


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