In response to expanding eligibility in Oregon, the Malheur County Health Department has lengthened the hours of its weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics starting this Thursday. Throughout the month of April, clinics will take place every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. First and second doses of Moderna vaccine will be available throughout.
“With eligibility opening up to most adults in Malheur County, we felt that an all-day clinic was the best approach. People can stop by at their convenience, whether it’s before or after work, at lunch or during a break in activities,” said MCHD Communicable Disease Coordinator Angie Gerrard, RN/BSN. “I know we’re all eager to put this pandemic behind us, and vaccination of a large percentage of the community is what will allow us to do that. We know these vaccines are safe and life-saving, and we want make the process of getting the vaccine as easy for people as possible.”
Once inside, the vaccine process takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. The last few clinics have had little to no wait time to enter. To speed up the process, people can print and fill out the two required forms – Vaccine Screening & Consent English/Español and Pre-Vaccination Checklist English/Español – and bring them to the clinic. No other paperwork or documentation is required.
COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened last week to the following groups:
All adults 45-64 with underlying health conditions
Migrant and seasonal farm workers
Seafood and agricultural workers
Food processing workers
People living in low-income senior housing, senior congregate and independent living
Individuals experiencing homelessness
People currently displaced by wildfires
Pregnant people 16 and older
On Monday, these groups will be added:
Frontline workers as defined by CDC
Individuals living in a multigenerational household
Adults 16–44 with one or more underlying health conditions with increased risk
State health officials in Oregon recommend that local vaccination sites continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A, after the state’s immunization program received advice from federal officials to continue to dispense the doses. Moderna Lot 041L20A has been associated with six adverse events at a single site in California. On Jan. 19, medical experts from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Committee evaluated the reports and are expected to follow up with an announcement of their analysis later today, reaffirming the CDC recommendations to continue to administer doses from this Moderna lot of vaccine.
This vaccine lot consists of approximately one million doses of vaccines. In Oregon, 57,400 doses of Moderna Lot 041L20A have been distributed to 118 vaccination sites, including in Malheur County. As of Jan. 20, Oregon vaccination sites had administered 30,803 doses from the lot.
The Malheur County Health Department administered 104 doses of vaccine from Moderna Lot 041L20A during a vaccine POD (point of distribution) at the Ontario Municipal Airport firehouse on Jan. 13. There were no adverse events at the time of distribution, according to Erika Harmon, MCHD public information officer. Today’s vaccine POD is distributing doses from a different Moderna lot.
Oregon continues to monitor adverse events following administration of all COVID-19 vaccinations and is currently investigating two adverse events at separate sites linked to Moderna Lot 041L20A. All individuals reported to the Oregon Health Authority who experienced adverse events have recovered. Providers are required to submit reports of adverse events following vaccine administration to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS https://vaers.hhs.gov/).
OHA received a communication from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which stated: “CDC is aware of a situation in California in which multiple potential adverse events were reported after vaccination with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine (Moderna Lot 041L20A) at one community vaccination clinic. We are working closely with the California Department of Public Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Moderna to investigate these potential adverse events. At this time CDC does NOT recommend health departments stop administering this lot or any lot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.”
OHA encourages local vaccine administration sites to share information about lot numbers in response to questions from patients. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Committee will continue to monitor further reports and will consider any additional guidance states receive from the federal government.
Oregon health officials reiterated their expectations that local vaccination sites monitor patients for 15 minutes after vaccination, or 30 minutes in persons with a history of an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a vaccine or injectable therapy and persons with a history of anaphylaxis due to any cause, and have supplies on hand to respond to any adverse events.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer for Oregon said: “Vaccines, along with wearing masks and limiting indoor gatherings, are the safest, most effective and most reliable ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Adverse reactions to vaccines are extremely rare, but we’re paying close attention when they do occur. At this time, there’s no evidence that these events have been associated with any other vaccine site and I encourage every eligible Oregonian to get a vaccine as soon as vaccination is available to you.”