‘If that’s at the expense of older people dying, is that a good trade-off?”
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)– The Oregon Health Authority recently announced that seniors 80 and older will be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine beginning Feb. 8, with other age groups set to follow in the coming weeks.
But the agency also said this week there’s not going to be enough vaccine doses to meet the demand, which can only add fuel to the fire of frustration many seniors have felt in recent weeks and months.
NewsChannel 21 has heard directly from a handful of seniors who have voiced their frustration with vaccine rollout, like Bill Gawlowksi.
“I know it’s difficult, we’re not getting vaccines fast enough,” he said. I just feel like seniors are getting kicked to the curb, so to speak.”
Gawlowski said he understood the vaccine being rolled out to health care workers first, but doesn’t agree much with the groups following, given the high death rate among seniors. Notably, he cited teachers and school staff, who were vaccinated before most seniors.
“When it came to the schools, I have grandkids in schools too, and absolutely, schools are critical to these kids getting back in there,” Gawlowski said. But again, the bottom line is, if that’s at the expense of older people dying, is that a good trade-off?”
There are about 105,000 educators in Oregon, just over 12,000 inmates — and and more than 700,000 people over the age of 65.
Deschutes County Public Health Services told NewsChannel 21 that they don’t know yet how many vaccines they will allocated for next week.
“The week beginning Feb. 1, we did not receive any first-dose allocation from Oregon Health Authority,” spokesperson Morgan Emerson said. “We’re waiting to find out what our allocation will be for next week will be, if any.”
Emerson explained how those looking to get vaccinated can get started on the process.
“You can sign up at vaccine.deschutes.org to be notified when you’re eligible to schedule an appointment and receive information on how to schedule it,” Emerson said.
And for those with limited transportation, trying to make their way to the fairgrounds in Redmond, where vaccinations are happening?
“If you have Medicare or a health insurance plan that covers medical transport, you can use that benefit to schedule a ride to the Fair and Expo Center for appointments,” Emerson said.