Vaccine clinics to be held on Thursdays in April

Angie Gerrard, RN, and communicable disease coordinator for the Malheur County Health Department prepares a round of vaccines in this March 4 photo. The department will host all-day clinics for first- and second-doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Four Rivers Cultural Center every Thursday throughout April.

ONTARIO

As availability of COVID-19 vaccines expands to more and more people, the Malheur County Health Department is working to make vaccines available on residents’ own time. Public information officer Erika Harmon announced in a news release Tuesday that the department’s Incident Command Team will host indoor COVID-19 vaccine clinics every Thursday in April from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you live or work in Oregon and you are age 18+, you are likely eligible for the vaccine starting the first week in April, according to the release.

The clinics will distribute the first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

In a blog post on the department website, communicable disease coordinator Angie Gerrard wrote that department officials felt an all-day clinic was the right thing to do for the community.

“People can stop by at their convenience, whether it’s before or after work, at lunch or during a break in activities,” wrote Gerrard. “I know we’re all eager to put this pandemic behind us, and vaccination of a large percentage of the community is what will allow us to do that. We know these vaccines are safe and life-saving, and we want make the process of getting the vaccine as easy for people as possible.”

In an email to the Argus on Tuesday, Harmon said the department has administered 5,573 vaccines to date. She added, however, that the department aims to vaccinate all who are eligible.

“Vaccination is one of the best tools we have to keep people safe and stop the pandemic,” wrote Harmon. “There are three vaccine options available in Malheur County and a number of providers to choose from. If you need help finding a vaccine, please call the health department.”

Harmon also sought to put skeptics at ease about getting the vaccine.

“Based on what is known about the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S., allergic reaction is rare and there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes problems with pregnancy or fertility. We encourage anyone who has questions or concerns about the vaccine as it relates to their own health to talk to their healthcare provider.”

And while it is unknown how much longer the pandemic will continue, Harmon urges the public not to lose patience.

“We are not in the clear yet and there is no way to know how long it will be before the pandemic is over,” Harmon wrote. “We need to continue to follow the guidance to protect ourselves and others: Get a vaccine when it is available to you, wear a mask, maintain physical distance, avoid large gatherings, and wash or sanitize your hands frequently.”

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