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April 10 2021
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Oregon hedges COVID-19 vaccination timeline in response to concerns over Johnson & Johnson shipments
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Story by Brad Schmidt | The Oregonian/OregonLive
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  Oregon hedges COVID-19 vaccination timeline Johnson & Johnson vaccines  
 
An aggressive pledge to partially inoculate every Oregonian 16 and older against COVID-19 before summer fell into jeopardy Wednesday amid revelations that a manufacturer ruined up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Gov. Kate Brown and state health officials set lofty expectations two weeks ago when they said they expected "enough doses for every Oregonian who wants a vaccine to have the opportunity for at least a first dose" by the first week of June.

That timeline was predicated on Oregon receiving a growing supply of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But with millions of those doses now wiped from the national supply, state officials said Wednesday the goalposts may need to shift.

"It's hard for me to say, "No,'" it won't affect the timeline, said David Baden, who oversees vaccine forecasts for the Oregon Health Authority.

"We'll see now," he added. "It's frustrating."

Oregon's bad-news acknowledgement was juxtaposed Wednesday by Washington's decision to make all of its residents 16 and older eligible for a vaccine April 15, about two weeks ahead of Oregon's May 1 timeline.

Eligibility, of course, does not ensure access to a shot – and that's why Oregon's initial assertion that everyone could get a shot by the first week of June was so significant.

State officials made clear that hitting the timeline would be conditional on increasing daily inoculations using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But the schedule seemed optimistic if not impractical, requiring first doses for nearly 3.5 million Oregonians when fewer than 1.2 million had received them as of Wednesday.