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Clatsop County allowed to loosen COVID restrictions

No new Oregon counties reach the governor’s target of getting 65% of residents vaccinated in order to loosen local COVID-19 restrictions this week. But one more Oregon county is joining the list of places that can relax some limits on on public gatherings and businesses. Gov. Kate Brown announced that Clatsop County on the north coast is moving to lower risk status, after minimal transmission there last week.

Lane and Polk counties also moved down in risk status — to moderate from high.

But with the rate of new COVID-19 vaccinations slowing, no new counties reached 65% of adults vaccinated this week, the county target the governor has set on the way to a statewide goal of 70% of adults vaccinated to more fully reopen the state’s economy.

Just under 66% of adults in Oregon have been vaccinated so far.

National polling in May by the Kaiser Family Foundation found a shrinking pool of people still eager to get vaccinated, an expected result as vaccination rates have risen. Nationwide, 62% of adults have been vaccinated so far.

About 4% in KFF’s poll said they plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Oregon is offering a variety of incentives for vaccination: a $1 million lottery drawing for people who get their first dose by June 27, $100,000 college scholarships, and special seating sections at entertainment venues, including home playoff games for the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.

The Kaiser Family Foundation polling raises questions about whether those incentives are effective.

People who have not yet been vaccinated said they would be more likely to get the shot if one of the vaccines received full approval from the FDA. Currently, the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been approved for use by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization.

The KFF poll found that some incentives could backfire; 4 in 10 people who were not yet ready to get a COVID-19 shot reported feeling “unfair pressure” from the government and media to get it.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Amelia Templeton