By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Local health authorities anticipated the CDC would prioritize health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities for early COVID vaccines.
The next steps include receiving and administering the first round of vaccines.
The St. Charles Health System is preparing to receive initial doses of COVID vaccines and administer them to caregivers.
“We think it’s really important our health care workers get vaccinated. This will be a way to keep our health care workforce intact,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, St. Charles Health System chief physician executive. “As we speak, we have a number of health care workers who are out with illness or exposure. This will be an important way for us to keep our staff available to take care of patients that need their care.
It’s still unclear when COVID vaccines will be available locally, but we should know more within the next two weeks.
Morgan Emerson with Deschutes County Public Health says guidance will come from the state.
“We at Deschutes County are enrolled with Oregon Health Authority to store and administer a COVID 19 vaccine as it becomes available,” Emerson said. “Also, we are expecting there will, initially, be a limited supply of vaccines that will be prioritized for health care workers.”
Absalon says a St. Charles team is coordinating and interfacing with the Oregon Health Authority, preparing to receive the vaccine and administer it.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done and we have a short time frame,” he said. “This is really a critical issue that we are excited about and know that it is very important for us to deliver upon.”
Absalon says it will be an “all hands on deck” effort to get people available to receive and administer the vaccine.