PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Appointments for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and boosters at major retailers like Walgreens, CVS, Safeway and Costco are filling up fast as the omicron variant sweeps through the nation days ahead of Christmas.
Community members might have an easier time landing a shot at one of the walk-in clinics run by a county or the state.
Washington County Health and Human Services is offering free COVID-19 vaccines and boosters at a mobile walk-in clinic Wednesday afternoon at James Templeton Elementary School. The clinic runs from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Templeton Elementary, located at 9500 Southwest Murdock Street in Tigard.
On Thursday, the county’s mobile clinic will be at Beaverton Hoop YMCA from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The events are open to the public and appointments are not needed.
Boosters as well as Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered at both of the clinics.
Washington County’s mobile vaccine team holds clinics across the community five days per week, WCHHS said, but not all of its events are open to the public. Here is a list of the ones that are.
The county’s clinics are designed to give out about 250 vaccines a day, and officials said they’re working to increase that output to 400. More information on Washington County’s vaccine clinics can be found here.
The Oregon Health Authority is also holding multiple mass vaccination clinics across the state, set up to administer around 1,000 vaccines per day. Many OHA vaccine sites are closed during Christmas Eve and Christmas. Times, days, locations and more information on those clinics can be found here.
Officials said many of the county- and state-run vaccine sites are open to the public and still have slots available.
“Many of them are available to everybody and they are not full,” Dr. Ann Loeffler, deputy health officer for Multnomah County. “I’m thinking of a Friday clinic that I’m often at … when it first opens, we have a backlog, but four or five hours into the clinic, we’re breathing easy and people are getting through quickly.”
All Oregonians aged 5 and older are eligible for the vaccine; however, at Washington County-sponsored vaccine events, anyone 14 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent, a guardian or an adult designated by the parent or guardian, WCHHS said.
The clinics come as the hyper-contagious omicron variant spreads rapidly across Oregon and the country.
Oregon health officials said they have already noticed a bump in COVID cases from the Thanksgiving weekend, and they’re expecting a surge after Christmas. They said getting a COVID-19 booster will be the difference between getting severely sick from the omicron variant and just mildly ill.
Local, state and federal health officials urged people to get the booster shot before the holidays — if eligible — and to keep their get-togethers small.