Oregon did not met its goal of reaching 70% vaccinated by Monday, June 21.

In early June, Gov. Brown told Oregonians that achievement of a 70% vaccination rate would lift nearly all COVID-19 restrictions across the state, just in time for her COVID-19 emergency order to expire on June 28.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Jason Luker administers a COVID-19 vaccination during a recent drive-thru clinic at Clatskanie City Park.

Despite the fact that many counties are still significantly under the 70% mark—Columbia County, for instance, is sitting at approximately 49.2%—the governor told Oregonians that pandemic restrictions would almost completely lift in every county, should the state over all reach the vaccination benchmark for residents 18 and over.

But then daily vaccination numbers across the state plummeted. Now, the state will not reach 70% on June 21, and may not even make the goal by the next week, when the emergency order expires.

Most recently updated data from Friday, June 18, shows that 68.5% of Oregon adults are vaccinated with at least one dose. To reach the threshold, 51,616 Oregonians need to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Based on Oregon's regular trajectory, the state has the potential to reach its target by June 28, but not if vaccine rates continue to decline. The OHA now says it aims to reach the goal by July 1, according to the Oregonian.

At this stage, the state reaching its goal relies most heavily on counties with lower rates. For reference, Multnomah, Benton, Hood River, and Washington county have all exceeded the 70% mark, while Lake, Malhuer, and Umatilla county are yet to breach 40%. 

Columbia County status

The governor gave counties a more conservative goal of reaching 65% by the June 21 deadline.

Columbia County remains at just shy of 50% and is designated High Risk, but if the state opens up within the week or the following, Columbia County's major restrictions will lift as well, according to Columbia County Public Health Director Michael Paul.

"Columbia County will not keep restrictions in place once state-wide restrictions are lifted," Paul told The Chronicle. "Our economy is so intertwined with the metro areas," he explained, and many residents commute to other counties for work. "Looking at numbers in a political boundary is not always the best thing."

But that doesn't mean the county won't do its part to combat slipping vaccination rates.

"Are we concerned that we're at like 50% when the state is almost at 70, absolutely," Paul said. "We will continue to work on those numbers."

The county plans to continue its vaccination efforts into the fall. Efforts will include vaccine sites at the county fair, Rainier Days in the Park, and local pharmacies. Seven pharmacies currently offer COVID-19 vaccination, in addition to the larger vaccine clinic at OHSU Scappoose—though the site has began to decrease its vaccination days. 

The key to raising the county's vaccination rate? "Reaching people at home," Paul said. Columbia River Fire and Rescue and local fire departments throughout the county are assisting the public health department in vaccinating residents that live in more remote areas, particularly parts of Vernonia and Clatskanie.

With those efforts, Paul hopes the county can do its part to reach 65% and raise the state's overall vaccination rate.

As of midday Monday, the governor had not publicly addressed the state concerning the vaccination rates or the reopening. The Chief will update this story, as soon as the governor releases new information.

For vaccination site updates, call Columbia County Public Health at 397-7247.

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