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Health and Medicine

Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Will Open In Jackson And Josephine Counties

Covid vaccine 2 OPB.jpg
Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB
Nurse Madison Freenling prepares to give a COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 in Portland, Ore., at a drive-thru vaccination clinic. The clinic was a partnership between SEIU and Oregon Health & Science University, aiming to vaccinate Oregon's 32,000 home-health care workers and their patients.

Jackson County will open a mass COVID-19 vaccination site this week. So will Josephine County. Now that the state will be receiving less vaccine than initially planned, fewer people will be eligible to receive the shots.

On January 21 through the 23, Jackson County Expo Center will function as a drive-through COVID vaccination site. Until late last week, the vaccine was going to be available to educators and seniors over 65. But because the federal government failed to come through with a promised release of additional vaccine doses, access will now be limited to people in the highest priority group.

“It’s very important for educators and those over the age of 65 to receive this vaccine," says Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Medical Director. "We’re going to continue to work and advocate for that group, but for the time being, this particular event is going to focus on those in stage 1A so that we can finish that out and be prepared to vaccinate the larger community when there’s enough vaccines available.”

The Oregon Health Authority includes the following four groups in Phase 1a:

  • Group 1
    • Hospitals
    • Urgent Care
    • Skilled nursing and memory care facility healthcare personnel and residents
    • Tribal health programs
    • Emergency medical services providers and other first responders
    • Health care interpreters
    • Traditional heath workers
  • Group 2
    • Other long-term care facilities, including HCP and residents of:
      • Residential care facilities
      • Adult foster care
      • Group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
      • Other congregate care sites
    • Hospice programs
    • Mobile crisis care and related services
    • Individuals working in correctional settings
  • Group 3
    • HCPs in outpatient settings serving specific high-risk groups
    • Day treatment services
    • Non-emergency medical transport
    • Caregivers of medically fragile children or adults who live at home
  • Group 4
    • All other outpatient HCPs
    • Public health sites

As of Friday, the goal was to vaccinate 5,000 people. That will depend on how many doses are actually received.

“We’re hopeful that we are going to receive enough vaccines to expand this out," says Dr. Shames. "That was certainly our initial plan, but we certainly don’t want to promise something we can’t deliver. But we thought it was prudent to restrict this to the groups that we’re certain we can deliver a vaccine to.”

Josephine County will also host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25 at the Josephine County Fairgrounds in Grants Pass. A second clinic is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at Illinois Valley High School, 625 E. River St. in Cave Junction.

The Oregon National Guard and Asante, as well as other community partners, are working together to provide at least 3,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Josephine County.

Additional information on how to participate in the Josephine County clinics and when to arrive will be posted to http://www.co.josephine.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=2288.