By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
In Central Oregon, adults 75 and older have been receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
Another group has recently joined the vaccination process, the homeless
People staying at Deschutes County homeless shelters like Bethlehem Inn and Shepherd’s House received vaccines through a partnership with Mosaic Medical.
“In one day, we were able to get everyone with their first vaccine already,” said Gwenn Wysling, executive director of the Bethlehem Inn.
People living in shelters are eligible for the vaccine under Oregon’s phase 1a, group 2 because shelters are considered congregant living facilities.
“We are working on getting our first ten signed up and we’re about halfway there,” said Jefferson County cold weather shelter Coordinator Pat Abernathy.
Abernathy says their vaccinations are scheduled for February 4.
She says the homeless population is at high risk for COVID and other illnesses.
“Many of them get ill and get pneumonia and they go to the hospital for things because they don’t have the normal environment you or I would have,” Abernathy said.
Jefferson County and Deschutes counties announced Friday they will not administer any first doses of the COVID vaccines next week after the OHA said it will send the area’s share to regions further behind in the process.
Despite the newly announced shortages, Jefferson County Public Health Director Michael Baker says they set aside doses for the cold weather shelter, to help this vulnerable population.
A goal is to make sure homeless residents can receive both doses.
The warming shelter here in Jefferson County here is seasonal and it is scheduled to close in March, so we wanted to make sure we had that window,” Baker said.
The Warm Springs warming shelter vaccinated its population on February 13.