PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic opened Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland

The clinic offers COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers and first responders. 

OHSU helped organize the clinic. They said it’s a pilot clinic and the people it serves must receive an invitation first. 

On Sunday, they were able to schedule 60 slots for vaccines each hour, but organizers believe the next time they can increase that number. 

OHSU and the Service Employees International Union are partnering to vaccinate Oregon’s 32,000 home healthcare workers and their patients, starting in the Portland area. 

“It’s certainly a top priority for us to partner with many different community groups… delivery of healthcare services within the community is not just the hospitals,” said Joe Ness, MHA, chief operations officer and senior vice president for OHSU Healthcare. 

Lessons learned during the first weekend will help officials gauge the effectiveness of drive-up vaccination sites and help them manage future clinics. 

“We have been in communication with and reaching out to the state and  OHA as willing partners to participate in vaccinating other healthcare workers that are identified in phase one that aren’t otherwise OHSU employees,” said Dr. Renee Edwars, chief operating officer and senior vice president for OHSU Health. 

Leslie Fox received her first dose of the vaccine at the drive-through clinic Sunday. She cares for her sister who is immunocompromised. 

“If she’s exposed she can get really sick, so I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do anything. I pick up my groceries. I order them online and pick them up. So, having this and being able to go back to some sense of normalcy is fantastic,” the said. 

Fox said she received an email invitation to visit the OHSU clinic for the first dose of the vaccine. She said she was surprised but grateful.

“It’s worth it, the health of our community, if you are a home health care worker, for the people you are caring for.  It takes a half an hour out of your day and we are setting ourselves up to be safer.  It’s just an easy process,” Fox said.

Organizers said clinicians walked to and from cars to check on people after they were vaccinated. So far, they said there were no serious concerns to report at the Convention Center clinic or the drive-thru clinic they held in Hillsboro Saturday.

Their goal was to get 2,000 people vaccinated at the two clinics this weekend.