Starting next week, St. Charles Health System and Deschutes County plan to begin hosting vaccination clinics at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. The clinics will be available to individuals in the phase 1a group by appointment only.
“We are preparing to move vaccine clinics to the fairgrounds so that we can safely vaccinate more people faster,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, chief physician executive for St. Charles. “We are going to be ready to deploy vaccine to our community. But we also acknowledge the vaccine is in very short supply. We are striving to get as many doses here as possible.”
In a press conference today, Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen announced changes to eligibility requirements for the vaccine:
- Vaccination of the 1a group—including health care providers, first responders, medically fragile children and their caretakers and those with intellectual disabilities—continues. It is the only group eligible for vaccination at this time
- Starting the week of Jan. 25 (and in some counties, sooner), childcare providers, early learning and K-12 educators and staff will be eligible for vaccination
- Starting the week of Feb. 8, vaccinations will open to individuals 80 years and older—who represent 30 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Oregon
- Following the 80 and older group, seniors in three age bands will also become eligible in the following order (the dates to be announced):
- Seniors 75 and older
- Seniors 70 and older
- Seniors 65 and older
“We are very fortunate to have an opportunity to continue COVID-19 vaccination and to broaden the pool of our population eligible for this potentially life-saving vaccine,” said Deschutes County Health Services Director Dr. George Conway.
Deschutes County Health Services is launching an online platform that will allow residents to sign up to be notified when they are eligible and about how to make an appointment be vaccinated. More information will be available at deschutes.org/covid19vaccine.
To date, St. Charles and Deschutes County have administered more than 7,000 vaccines. The two organizations’ vaccine clinics are being relocated to the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center next week, allowing them to begin transitioning to a larger-scale vaccination model.
On Monday, individuals who are in the 1a vaccination group can resume scheduling an appointment. Registration has been temporarily suspended while the health system verifies how many doses will be available in its next allotment. More information about the registration process can be found at St. Charles Health System website.
“We are going to vaccinate the 1a group through next week, and will broaden our vaccination efforts to the next group, educators, on Jan. 25,” Absalon said.
For more information about the vaccine, Deschutes County residents can visit deschutes.org/covid19vaccine.