Oregon National Guard joins mass COVID vaccination effort


Gov. Kate Brown toured the vaccine clinic site at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Members of the military have joined Oregon’s efforts to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations.

Governor Kate Brown toured a vaccination site on Wednesday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds where Salem Health and the Oregon National Guard teamed up to execute the state’s first mass vaccination clinic.

The governor watched as the Guard gave shots to Marion County healthcare workers. Oregon is still trying to work through the tens of thousands of healthcare workers and first responders who are first in line to receive the vaccine.

Brown’s office said the governor has not yet been vaccinated.

Oregon has had a slow start in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines, in part because officials have been ironing out details on what order various groups will receive them in.

The state plans to inoculate people in large numbers at mass vaccination clinics such as the one held in Salem.

“It’s part of the solution, this is a very replicable model we can hopefully replicate in Portland and Southern Oregon and Central Oregon but we are going to need other models as well,” Brown said.

Brown said Oregon is working on plans to distribute the vaccine next to seniors, teachers and other school staff starting Jan. 23. That groups includes about 800,000 people but Oregon is currently receiving just 50,000 doses each week.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown observes a COVID vaccination clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem, Jan. 13, 2020. (Kate Brown)

The Veterans Administration in Portland has been contacting Portland and Vancouver residents who are 75 and older to schedule their vaccines. The VA plans to host mass vaccination clinics by appointment starting next week. Veterans are urged to pick up a phone call from an unknown number in order to schedule their appointments.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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