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Survey: Vaccine Hunt Generates Frustration, Elation in OR

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The COVID-19 vaccine is especially important for Oregonians 50 and older, who account for more than 95% of virus deaths. (Lakshmiprasad/Adobe Stock)
The COVID-19 vaccine is especially important for Oregonians 50 and older, who account for more than 95% of virus deaths. (Lakshmiprasad/Adobe Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact
April 19, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Older Oregonians have felt frustration and relief in their search for the much-coveted COVID-19 vaccine.

A survey by AARP of more than 2,000 members in the state finds the process has gone smoothly for some folks.

Mary Bruce, a retired school district employee, got her shot at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

"Everyone that I've spoken to that's gone to the convention center had the same opinion," Bruce stated. "It was very efficient and very satisfying. Everyone, including myself, was really relieved to be able to get the vaccine."

As of today, the vaccine is open to all Oregonians ages 16 and up. It's being distributed at hubs across the state and through pharmacies, health clinics and medical providers.

The process has not been so easy for other folks. Among survey respondents, 90% said they had tried to get an appointment.

But as of March 13, only 68% had been lucky enough to secure one, and 11% had received their first shot by then.

Mary Epler, a retired nurse in Beaverton, said she got an appointment at a Costco in Tigard after days of searching.

"I'd been looking, like, almost every two hours for it, so it was really frustrating not being able to find anything," Epler recounted.

Unfortunately, Epler faced another long wait at Costco. The pharmacy was set up to give 150 shots, but the online booking system had allowed 500 people to sign up.

"So I was just glad that I went through three hours and was able to get the shot," Epler added.

Despite the hiccups, she believes it's important for people to get the vaccine.

Statistics show it's especially crucial for older Oregonians. According to the Oregon Health Authority, more than 95% of people who have died from COVID-19 are 50 or older.

Disclosure: AARP Oregon contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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