▶️ Volunteers reflect on mass vaccination success; clinic ends Friday

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After four months and thousands of people vaccinated, Deschutes County’s mass vaccination clinic will wrap up on Friday.

“I’m very happy that I got the chance to come out here and help any way I can,” said volunteer Gary Wirth.

Wednesday marked Wirth’s 26th day volunteering at the mass vaccination clinic at the fairgrounds in Redmond.

It was nearly 200 hours of what he calls a very rewarding experience.

“The contact with the people. I think that’s a momentum for hearing the cheerful sounds of them before and after and stuff,” Wirth said. “I had a 102-year-old lady and she said she was just so tickled to get it done.”

By the end of the week, the clinic will have provided 119,000 doses to residents throughout Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook County.

Clinic efficiency played a big role in accomplishing those numbers.

“Just seeing this constant improvement in our clinic to the point that we have it quite dialed in,” Molly Wells-Darling, incident commander said. “People get their vaccination quickly and it’s a great experience for everyone involved.”

Volunteer David Huntley would agree.

“It was very intuitive for people to come in,” Huntley said. “Get the paperwork, go through, get their vaccinations.”

As a child, Huntley saw what an impact the polio vaccine had.

Now, he’s seen the same with COVID vaccinations, and that made the experience even more special.

“I feel like it’s sort of a book ending,” Huntley said. “My transition here of being able to be part of the conquest of polio and hopefully we can have something similar with COVID as well.”

Our local vaccination numbers have been some of the best in the state, and volunteers like Wirth and Huntley made it possible.

“It’s sad in a way because it’s ending here, but there’s still going to be areas on the outside that people can still go out and get their shots if they can’t finish it here,” Wirth said. “So it’s just a neat thing for them to do.”

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