All Oregonians 16 or older will be eligible for Covid vaccine April 19

Moderna vaccine doses at a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Centennial Park in Woodburn, Ore. on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

All Oregonians 16 and older will be able to get a Covid vaccine starting April 19, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday, speeding up the state’s previous timeline by about two weeks.

Brown announced the change on Twitter, saying Oregon faces a race between the pace of vaccinations and the spread of more contagious variants of the virus. Daily Covid cases in Oregon fell sharply in the first months of 2021 before resuming an increase in recent weeks.

The state had originally planned to make vaccines available to the general public May 1. Frontline workers and younger adults with underlying health conditions became eligible for shots statewide on Monday.

Despite the state’s professed commitment to equity in the vaccine rollout, vaccines remain unevenly distributed by race, with Oregon Latinos particularly underrepresented. Latinos make up 13% of the state’s population and 34% of Covid cases where ethnicity was reported, but just 6% of Oregonians who have received a vaccine so far, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

“Over the next two weeks, we will dedicate all available resources to ensure Oregon’s frontline workers and people with underlying conditions have access to vaccines—two groups in which Oregonians from communities of color are predominantly represented,” Brown said in a statement.

See Salem Reporter’s guide here to getting a vaccine in the Salem area.

-Rachel Alexander