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Governor accelerates Oregon's vaccine eligibility timeline

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday she is accelerating Oregon's COVID-19 vaccine eligibility timeline in order for vulnerable populations to receive shots ahead of May 1, when all adults will become eligible.

In addition, beginning Monday, counties that have largely completed vaccinating residents who are 65 or older can begin administering shots to the next eligible groups, along with migrant and seasonal farmworkers working in the county.

Beginning March 29, those eligible for the vaccine will be people 45-64 with underlying health conditions, migrant and seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, food processing workers, people living in low-income senior housing, senior congregate and independent living, homeless people, people displaced by the 2020 wildfires, wildland firefighters and pregnant people 16 and older.

On April 19, frontline workers, multigenerational household members, and people 16 to 44 with underlying health conditions will be eligible. Frontline workers include grocery store employees, restaurant workers, members of the media and public transit workers will also qualify.

President Joe Biden has pledged to make all adults eligible for vaccines by May 1. However, following the announcement Brown said she would not change the state’s eligibility schedule until she was sure the state would receive enough vaccines. Originally, all Oregonians, 16 and older, were set to become eligible July 1.

Since then Oregon officials said they have received an order, from the United States Department of Health and Human Service, that directs vaccination sites to make the change with eligibility.

Oregon officials announced Wednesday that all residents 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine by May 1.

Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2020 file photo, prepared COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine syringes are seen at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)