▶️ Deschutes County expands vaccine eligibility; frontline workers now included

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

On Wednesday, Deschutes County announced it is expanding COVID-19 eligibility to Group 7 of Phase 1B.

The sudden change now includes frontline workers, adults 16 and older with one or more underlying health conditions with increased risk, and individuals living in a multigenerational household.

“For our Group 7 individuals,” Molly Wells Darling, Deschutes County deputy incident commander said. “Many received links this morning if they were already pre-registered to go ahead and sign up for an appointment.”

Frontline workers include healthcare workers, grocery store employees, retail employees, and journalists.

“Frontline workers are defined as people who, for their job or their occupation,” Wells Darling said. “They are in contact with people throughout the day within six feet of these people for more than 15 minutes in a day.”

It’s ahead of the state’s timeline, but Wells Darling says efficiency of the mass vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds is one reason the county is ahead of schedule.

“We can administer 3,100 vaccinations each day,” Wells Darling said. “So as we continue to get more vaccines, we just continue to increase our vaccinations here at the clinic.”

Wednesday was Pamela Steinke’s fourth time volunteering at the clinic, and she continues to be amazed how well it’s running.

“I mean they can’t say enough good things about the clinic,” Steinke said. “How easy it is, they thought it was going to be hard to get to, it’s very easy, it’s quick, and they feel very safe.”

Deschutes County received over 8,000 vaccines this week and appointments are almost filled.

For those in Group 7 who did not receive a sign-up link Wednesday, Wells Darling says don’t worry.

“Be patient, it’s coming,” Wells Darling said. “It’s also very much based on how much vaccine we get and how many people we have signed up.”

Once you receive a link to sign up for a vaccination appointment, you must sign up within 48 hours.

We should learn in the next two days how many first-dose shots Deschutes County will receive for next week.

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