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Gov. Brown advances COVID shot timeline by 2 weeks for next group

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she will accelerate the state’s vaccine eligibility timeline by two weeks for Oregonians over age 16 with underlying medical conditions, frontline workers and those living in multi-generational homes.

Those groups will now be eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine April 5.

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)

Those over age 45 with underlying conditions become eligible for the vaccine Monday and are already eligible in 22 counties that have already inoculated most of their older population.

All Oregonians over the age of 16 will become eligible for vaccination no later than May 1, Brown said.

Brown said the number of counties ahead of schedule on vaccinating their population and increased vaccine supply from the federal government made it possible to speed up the timeline.

Under current projections, Oregon will receive enough vaccine to inoculate all eligible residents by the end of May and will be able to deliver them all by early to mid-June, said Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen.

“It does continue to be realistic. It think it’s going to be a big push and a lot of people are going to be working hard to get that done, but I think we can do it,” he said.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist, said large public events such as the Olympic track and field trials scheduled for June in Eugene and the Pendleton Round-Up in September could likely go forward this year with COVID safety precautions. State health officials are working on guidance for event organizers, he said.

“If we continue on the trajectory we’re seeing right now … I think those events will be allowed to take place,” he said.