Oregon expands pool of vaccinators

Coronavirus

Dentists, optometrists, pharmacists and medical students included

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon health officials expanded the list of professionals that can administer COVID-19 vaccines, so along with veterinarians, optometrists and dentists, certain healthcare students are eligible.

OHA Director Pat Allen signed a new amendment allowing more professionals to use their skills to help get more Oregonians vaccinated. They must be currently licensed, certified or registered or had an active license, certification or registration within the last five years.

The full list of expanded vaccinators is at the bottom of this article

Optometry students are now eligible to administer vaccines. Pacific University has already vaccinated up to 3000 people with the work of their students.

“We are healthcare university so a lot of faculty, staff and students qualified under 1A so we were able to partner with OHSU and get a portion of vaccines to vaccinate some of our own people,” said Jennifer Yruegas, the Pacific University Coordinator of Vaccination Clinics. “Then because we did a good job and we were able to pull off 600 vaccinations in a weekend on three days notice we were contacted by the county to see if we could partner with them to start the distribution of the vaccines. And with them we’ve done 6 clinics, 1st and 2nd doses.”

Yruegas said the pandemic impacted their students in a unique way.

“We had students, PA students – physician assistant and pharmacy students – who lost their ability to go out into the community and serve and get the experience they normally would.”

So this opportunity to help vaccinate people in Oregon is a win for everyone, she said.

“For our students to graduate they need a certain number of hours, they need certain amounts of experience, so us doing these clinics they serve a dual purpose. We are doing good which we love but we are also providing a real life experience for our students.”

The vaccination clinics they run are big, outdoor, drive-thru clinics. They will be able to run multiple vaccination clinics — one at their stadium and another where the optometry school is — doubling their capacity to as many as 1000 people per day.

“We need to be able to vaccinate more. There’s a lot more vaccine available and now with optometry being able to vaccinate people — which makes sense, since they can poke your eye why wouldn’t they be able can poke your arm?”

She added there is a supervisor watching over every student.

“This isn’t the first time they’ve ever vaccinated,” she said. “They’ve had a lot of experience and go through rigorous education training before they give vaccinations out to our community.”

List of expanded vaccinators

  • Certified nursing assistants (CNA)
  • Dentists
  • Direct entry midwives
  • Emergency medical services providers (EMT, AEMT, EMT Intermediate or Paramedic)
  • Naturopathic physicians (ND)
  • Nurses
  • Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN, includes nurse midwives)
  • Registered nurses (RN)
  • Licensed practical nurses (LPN)
  • Optometrists
  • Pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians
  • Phlebotomists
  • Physicians (MDs and DOs)
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatrists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Traditional health workers
  • Veterinarians

Healthcare students (in these fields of study)

  • Dental
  • Emergency medical services providers (EMT, AEMT, EMT Intermediate or Paramedic)
  • Medical
  • Midwifery
  • Naturopathic medicine
  • Nursing (including CNA programs)
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy and pharmacy intern
  • Physician assistant
  • Podiatry
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Veterinary

“With actively practicing health care providers fully engaged in treating patients along with
administering vaccines, other individuals, including health care providers who do not vaccinate as
part of their practice, retired and inactive health care providers, traditional health workers, and
trained non-health care workers can play a key role in taking on the vital work of vaccinating
Oregonians,” the authorization document said.

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