PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Vaccines have suddenly become scarce in some parts of Oregon after months of vaccine surplus in the state and across that nation, officials said.
The situation is a dramatic shift from the late spring, summer and early fall, when Oregon tossed out over 400,000 unused spoiled or expired doses, largely because of lack of demand, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“We acknowledge that doses may be challenging to find right now,” Oregon Health Authority spokesperson Erica Heartquist said in an email Tuesday.
Three days earlier, the authority didn’t indicate any problems in a tweet: “Sites around Oregon are ready to accommodate large numbers of people seeking #COVID19 vaccinations. Offering all three COVID-19 vaccines, these sites are open to everyone eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.”
OHA officials said the reasons for the temporary shortage are varied. A big one is a dearth of available medical personnel to administer vaccines. Some are busy treating COVID-19 patients from the latest surge.
Many people are now eligible for booster shots, because it’s been more than six months since many were fully vaccinated. The latest concerning coronavirus variant, omicron, was also announced in the past few days.
Heartquist acknowledged Tuesday there currently isn’t enough vaccine in the state to meet demand, but said the authority is “confident” more doses will arrive from federal officials to meet Oregon’s needs. She said the agency also is redistributing doses to areas with higher demand.
She said officials “request patience from Oregonians.”