Teachers get their turn now as Deschutes Co. moves to COVID vaccine Phase 1B

Deschutes County has officially moved into Phase 1B of its vaccination efforts and can now begin giving the shots to all K-12 teachers.

The county and St. Charles expect to vaccinate 2,500 K-12 teachers this weekend, according to a release from the county.

It’s good timing for local teachers in Bend where K-3 students return to the classroom full time on Monday. All students will be back in class by February 8th.

Redmond students will return to a hybrid in-person/online model beginning February 2nd.

“We are excited to enter this new phase of vaccine distribution and to begin providing vaccines to local educators,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone. “We know there is significant anticipation in our community among residents who want to receive the vaccine. Staff from Deschutes County Health Services and St. Charles Health System are working diligently to distribute as many vaccines as possible.”

More than 12,000 Deschutes County residents have been vaccinated as of Wednesday.

To accommodate a larger vaccination effort, St. Charles on Thursday started a large-scale clinic at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond.

Teachers leapfrogged Oregon senior citizens on the priority list last week when the state learned it would not get an extra shipment of vaccinations from the federal stockpile.

At the time, Gov. Kate Brown said her decision was in line with her commitment to get more Oregon students back into the classroom.

Seniors 80-years-old and over are expected to get their first doses the week of February 8th.

As of Thursday, Oregon has reported 135,973 COVID cases since the onset of the pandemic; 1,843 have died.

Locally, Deschutes County has reported more than 5,100 cases and 39 deaths.

You can read the full release below:

Deschutes County has received approval from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to begin providing COVID-19 vaccines to local K-12 teachers. The approval signals the start of vaccine delivery to residents in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine framework.

Deschutes County and St. Charles Health System expect to provide vaccines to 2,500 K-12 teachers this weekend. The county and St. Charles are coordinating with local school districts and private schools to notify employees directly and provide instructions on how educators can schedule vaccine appointments online. Dependent upon vaccine supply, child care providers will be notified and begin being vaccinated as soon as next week.

On Wednesday, the Board of Commissioners authorized Deschutes County Health Services to submit the request to OHA, which contained an attestation that the county has completed Phase 1A vaccine distribution. Individuals in Phase 1A will continue to be able to schedule an appointment at the Fair & Expo Center.

“We are excited to enter this new phase of vaccine distribution and to begin providing vaccines to local educators,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone. “We know there is significant anticipation in our community among residents who want to receive the vaccine. Staff from Deschutes County Health Services and St. Charles Health System are working diligently to distribute as many vaccines as possible.”

Deschutes County residents who want to be notified when they are eligible to receive the vaccine can fill out the vaccine interest form at vaccine.deschutes.org. Deschutes County is also working with local health care providers and community partners to notify Deschutes County residents when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Adults 80 years and older will become eligible to receive the vaccine on Feb. 8. When more information is available, county health officials will share the process for scheduling a vaccine appointment.

As of Jan. 20, 12,290 residents in Deschutes County have received COVID-19 vaccines. Deschutes County is seventh in the state per capita in terms of vaccine distribution.

“We are so excited to be able to move on to the 1b group and begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to our K-12 educators, child care workers and early learning staff,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, St. Charles’ chief physician executive. “This week we stood up our community vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, positioning us well to be able to vaccinate a large number of people in a short amount of time. Our hope is that we will continue to receive substantial allotments of vaccine so that we may open vaccination as soon as possible to the next eligible groups.”

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