The Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds will close at the end of the month and the effort to vaccinate Central Oregonians shifts to smaller health clinics and pharmacies.
But they are now faced with some unique challenges.
“When you get this order of COVID vaccines it’s frozen and they have defrosted it and then you have one month to use them,” said co-owner of Your Care Urgent Care Debora Wattenburg. “So, you are dealing with that one-month time frame, plus once you pop open a vile you only have 12 hours that you have to use it or you have to discard it.”
Your Care Urgent Care in Redmond received 100 doses of the COVID vaccine and plans to start administering them Monday.
“The big goal is to make sure we have enough people ready to go for the vaccine, so that we have zero to minimal waste,” said Wattenburg.
Wattenburg is brainstorming the best way to give out a full vial, which holds 10 to 11 doses.
“The big consensus has been to set up clinics where you are scheduling groups of ten people and then go out to businesses where you have hopefully a group of ten or multiple businesses where it will be up to ten or more,” added Wattenburg.
Once they have enough interested patients, they will hold their own vaccine clinic a few days a week.
So far, they have one scheduled for Wednesday.
“The best way for our community, clinics, pharmacies, county, etc. to get doses into arms is to have the least barriers as possible,” said Deschutes County Incident Commander Molly Wells-Darling.
The mass vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds closes May 28th and is now only taking second-dose appointments.
As of Friday afternoon, the clinic has administered 113,000 doses.
Wells-Darling Says first dose appointments are available at area health clinics.
“Having the different avenues of the vaccine through pharmacies and clinics and then of course the pop-up clinics we will be doing, the mobile clinics as well, this is the best way as an overall community to get that vaccine to our community members,” said Wells-Darling.
Westside Pharmacy in Bend is setting up an online sign-up and waitlist system.
Family Choice Urgent Care says they have had no problem filling walk-in appointments at their Bend location, but the Redmond clinic is a different story.
They’re now shifting to a one-day vaccination clinic in Redmond to avoid vaccine waste.
St. Charles Health System, in partnership with community providers and pharmacies, has updated www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com to highlight a variety of local primary care providers, urgent cares, pharmacies and community pop-up clinics offering vaccinations.
Appointments may also be available by visiting https://vaccinefinder.org.