On Monday, Oregon seniors age 80 and older will become eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but not all who want a vaccine will be able to get one next week. Demand for the vaccine exceeds the supply that is currently available in counties throughout the state. Oregon Governor Kate Brown addressed the issue during a press conference today.
“I want to thank our seniors for their patience thus far, and for their continued patience in the coming days and weeks. We are still managing a scarce resource. There will be hiccups in this process, but we are going to get through them. Signing up for an appointment will look different based on your community and your health care provider,” Gov. Brown said.
In Malheur County, eligible vaccine seekers currently have three options:
- Check appointment availability at their nearest Valley Family Health Care office.
- Check appointment availability at Saint Alphonsus-Ontario by calling (888) 578-2684 or using the online scheduler at https://saintalphonsus.inquicker.com/saint-alphonsus-regional-medical-center/discharge/laboratory-services.
- Attend a first-come, first-served vaccine clinic offered by the Malheur County Health Department/COVID-19 Taskforce. Scheduled clinics are posted on the MCHD events calendar.
“We are currently prioritizing the older adults in our community and will be scheduling a weekly opportunity for them to be vaccinated, as long as vaccine allocations continue,” MCHD Director Sarah Poe said.
The first vaccine clinic scheduled in Malheur County that will be open to those age 80+ based on age will take place inside the Four Rivers Cultural Center on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or as long as vaccines last. It is open to people in Phase 1a through 1b Group 2. Roughly 300 first doses of the Moderna vaccine will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine. Administration fees will be billed to insurance when insurance is available. Attendees are asked to bring their insurance card(s) and wear a mask.
Attendees should use the south entrance of the cultural center, near the theater. The back parking lot, located between the cultural center and Treasure Valley Community College’s Weese Building, will provide the closest access. Several wheelchairs will be available for use. Although the event takes place indoors, participants will likely be required to stand in line outdoors for a period of time and are encouraged to dress according to the weather and be prepared to stand for a while. If standing is difficult, attendees can bring someone to stand in their place while they wait in a vehicle for their turn.
All Oregonians age 65 and older will be eligible for vaccination by March 1. They will be followed by frontline workers and people with underlying health conditions.
Starting Monday, the covidvaccine.oregon.gov site will include a new tool—Get Vaccinated Oregon— to help people determine eligibility and to sign up for email alerts and text notifications when they become eligible. Seniors living independently with questions can also call 2-1-1 for information. To help ensure the phone lines are running smoothly, Gov. Brown is deploying National Guard members to help staff the call center.