Josephine County health staff administer leftover vaccine to drivers waiting on snowbound road

Photo courtesy of Christi Siedlecki

When the last attendees of a Cave Junction vaccine clinic were served, Josephine County Public Health still had six doses remaining.

Posted: Jan 27, 2021 9:28 AM
Updated: Jan 27, 2021 9:37 AM

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — With a handful of COVID-19 vaccine doses left after winter weather caused the closure of a vaccine clinic at Illinois Valley High School, Josephine County health staff administered what was left to drivers stuck waiting on the snowbound roadway.

The vaccine clinic shut down before 3 p.m. as severe winter weather began blanketing parts of Highway 199 in snow. Health staff served anyone who was still waiting in line at the time that the clinic closed. But when the last attendees were served, Josephine County Public Health still had six doses remaining.

"Recipients had been identified in Grants Pass, but the snow meant those doses wouldn't make it to them before they expired," Josephine County said.

As the staff headed home, they were stuck on Highway 199 near Hayes Hill in a lineup of drivers. Not wanting to waste the doses, the staff started walking car to car, offering to administer the vaccine to stranded motorists.

Josephine County Public Health said that an ambulance from AMR was on hand in case of any severe allergic reactions.

Ultimately, the six remaining doses were administered — one going to an employee of the Josephine County Sheriff's Office who arrived too late to get a dose at the IVHS clinic.

"JCPH Director Mike Weber said it was one of the coolest operations he'd been a part of," the agency concluded.

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