Storm delays create hurdles for Oregon vaccine appointments


Weather causes delay in shipments; online scheduling crashes amid influx of eligible recipients

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The recent storm that shut down vaccination sites throughout the region is having lasting effects still being felt this day.

Tens of thousands of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that were supposed to be distributed last week have still not arrived because of the weather both local and on the east coast. The Oregon Health Authority said the shipments likely will not arrive in Oregon until later this week.

In addition to the delay, an online traffic jam caused by an influx of new eligible recipients shut down the state’s vaccination appointment system Monday at 9 a.m. Thousands of people reported being unable to sign up.

A spokesperson for the Oregon Convention Center and OHSU said their appointment scheduling tools did not crash Monday but they did slow down as they reached capacity.

The Oregon Convention Center released 4900 appointments at 9 a.m. for seniors and Phase 1A. Another 500 appointments were held for the call center. At noon, 2000 appointments were released from OCC for educators. Almost all the appointments were filled quickly.

The state went ahead with its plan to expand eligibility for vaccinations to people aged 70 and older despite thousands of Oregonians being forced to cancel appointments last week due to the hazardous weather. Under the new phase, there are now more than 200,000 people in the state who can make a vaccination appointment.

Seniors who spoke with KOIN 6 News said that another of the growing frustrations is the difficulty of finding specific information on the state’s website.

Oregon is in Phase 1B of its vaccine distribution plan. Childcare providers and teachers were the first to be eligible under this phase. People 70 and older are part of Group 4. Group 5, which includes people 65 and older will be eligible starting March 5.

Oregon vaccine supply is limited, which means it may take until April to everyone in vaccine groups 1-5, Oregon health officials said.

Officials with Safeway and Albertsons told KOIN 6 News they expect to have sign up reopen sometime Thursday afternoon. Signups for appointments at the Oregon Convention Center and the drive-up site at Portland International Airport will reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The mass clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem plans to open Tuesday through Saturday, using Pfizer booking appointments through Salem Health.

Clark County residents will be able to go to the Ridgefield Fairgrounds on Tuesday, but must have a prior appointment.

Below is information on how eligible recipients can get vaccinated:

Vaccine eligibility

For Oregon, check your eligibility here, and for Washington, check here. Call 211 if you have more questions. You can also contact your doctor – however, hospitals have asked not to call them about vaccine eligibility.

Vaccine clinics

Portland International Airport: Drive-thru vaccine center for people with disabilities and their caregivers. It’s at the Red Economy Lot in collaboration between the Port of Portland, Oregon Health & Sciences University, and the Red Cross. By appointment only, for those in the Phase 1a group.

Oregon Convention Center:  Kaiser PermanenteOHSUProvidence and Legacy Health have joined forces for a mass vaccination clinic for those eligible.

Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem: Anyone in Phase 1a can receive a vaccination at the state fairgrounds, but educators must live or work in Marion County, or work for the Salem-Keizer School District, in order to receive a vaccination at the state fairgrounds. Must show ID.

Portland, Vancouver VA: Veterans can call the enrollment office at 503.273.5069 for more information or click this link. If you are a veteran who has never utilized the VA before but are interested in getting vaccinated, you can register with your local VA online and be put on the list. It requires a digital copy or photo of veterans’ military service records, such as a DD-214.

Clark County Fairgrounds: By appointment only for those who are pre-registered and eligible for the vaccine under Washington’s Phase 1a or 1b-1. Open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here to make an appointment at Ridgefield or call 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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