OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 50 people received the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at a clinic in Oregon City.
The clinic was designed to help those mental health and addiction issues — people who are among the least likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Clackamas County teamed up with Clackamas County Public Health to provide outreach for the clinic. NAMI Clackamas County Executive Director Michele Veenker said the county reached out and asked for their help to reach people with mental health and addiction issues.
Health professionals said the vaccine clinic on Thursday was more successful than they anticipated. They ran out of vaccines at one point and had to make a supply run for more.
Organizers worked to make the clinic feel more like a celebration by offering free food and gift card giveaways.
“It was a good experience because they talked you through it,” said Yurisney Guzman Vasquez who received the vaccine. “Since I don’t really like getting shots, they helped me calm down. They talk to you and they asked about what I’m doing this summer and right away it happened and you don’t even feel it.”
Veenker said the use of peer support was key to getting people through the doors.
“Peers are people who have either lived experience with mental health issues or they have lived experience with substance use disorders or both, so they’ve been there or they’ve done that, so they know what anxiety can exist and whether that’s the vaccine itself or being in a public place,” said Veenker. “These are people who can be there and say ‘I’ve been there, I’m with you, we can do this together.'”