SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — On Tuesday, the National Guard set up to help with COVID-19 vaccinations at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Wednesday, they’re ready to roll.
The Salem Health vaccine clinic has been vaccinating about 410 people an hour. The National Guard believe they can help with an additional 800 vaccinations per day — and they hope vaccine distribution can keep up with their pace.
Stephen Bomar, the Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department, said that’s why it’s a phased approach.
“If we put everybody on orders today, you know, there’s just not enough there. And so we have to slowly move throughout this process and identify where we need to be, not just here in Salem, of course, but across the state,” he said.
Eventually, he said, other mass vaccination clinics will be modeled after Salem Health, and that the National Guard plans on helping with various mobile sites in Oregon.
Gov. Kate Brown announced late Tuesday afternoon Oregon will expand its COVID-19 vaccination plan to include everyone who is 65 and older beginning January 23.
That’s the date more vaccine shipments are expected to begin arriving from the federal government, the governor’s office said. And on that date, seniors can get vaccinated along with child care providers, plus early learning and K-12 educators and staff.
Brown called this a welcome but “unexpected change in course from the federal government.”