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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — The number of attendees at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Jackson County Expo went from a trickle Thursday morning to a flood by the afternoon, prompting an urgent reminder from public health officials that the event is only open to certain groups due to the limit number of available doses.
"There continues to be confusion concerning who is qualified for the COVID-19 Vaccines being provided at the Expo," Jackson County Public Health said in a statement. "Non-qualified individuals are showing up, which is creating issues with maximizing the number of vaccines given."
This first vaccination clinic was never intended to be open to the general public, with the supply of vaccine doses still extremely tight. Initially, it was supposed to be for Phase 1a only, but was opened earlier this week to educators after special approval from the state.
Moreover, eligible people were urged to sign up online beforehand, with paperwork prepared in order to speed the process.
Jackson County's clinic was not opened to the larger population of seniors 65 and older, who won't become eligible under Oregon's plan until early February — and then only in stages starting with those 80 and older.
By 4 p.m. on Thursday, Tanya Phillips with Jackson County Public Health said that between 2,500 and 3,000 people had received their first dose of the vaccine — at the end of the first day of a three-day event that was originally intended to serve 5,000.
Despite the flood of attendees later in the afternoon and the concerns about ineligible people showing up with incomplete information, Phillips described Thursday's kick-off to the clinic as a success, moving smoothly and efficiently. Wait times lengthened as the line grew, but she estimated that most people were done with all of the necessary steps within 50 minutes.
Phillips said that Asante had managed to set aside a total of 6,000 doses for the three-day event, indicating that it may be truncated on Saturday if they run out of doses before the scheduled conclusion.
Who is eligible for the Jackson County clinic
- Group 1: Hospitals, Urgent Care, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care Facility Healthcare personnel ( HCP) and residents, Tribal health programs, Emergency medical services (EMS) providers and other first responders, Health care interpreters, Traditional health workers.
- Group 2: Other long-term care facilities, including HCP and residents of residential care facilities, adult foster care, group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Other congregate care sites, Hospice programs, Mobile crisis care, and related services, Individuals working in a correctional setting.
- Group 3: HCPs in outpatient settings serving specific high-risk groups, Day treatment services, Non-emergency medical transport (NEMT), Caregivers of medically fragile children or adults who live at home.
- Group 4: All other outpatient HCPs, and Public health sites.
Phase 1B (partial)
- Child-care, preschool, K-12, and school districts staff only.