Benton County, in a partnership with Samaritan Health Services and Oregon State University, delivered over 2000 vaccines last week at a mass vaccination site and hopes for future clinics.
This was the first mass vaccination clinic for the COVID-19 vaccine in Benton County and was held at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Benton County hopes that they will be able to use Reser Stadium for future mass vaccination clinics.
Appointments that were made last week catered to members of both Phase 1a, groups 1-4, and Phase 1b, group 1, prioritizing members of phase 1a.
Phase 1a groups 1-4 consists of multiple workers within the healthcare system including but are not limited to; health care workers, first responders, residents and workers of long term care facilities, outpatient workers, early learning sites, and death care workers.
As of Jan 25., early childhood and child care workers and private and public K-12 teachers became eligible to get the vaccine. According to Kelly Locey, the communications coordinator at Benton County Health Department, during Thursday they began to vaccinate members of Phase 1b group 1.
The clinic started at the gates of Reser Stadium, where patients were subjected to a health screening before being let inside. Once completed, they went to the registration counter where they were asked if they have ever had an adverse reaction to a vaccine.
If the answer to that question was yes, they received a red wristband, which would require them to remain in observation for 30 minutes. If the answer was no, they would be given a green wristband, requiring them to remain in observation for 15 minutes.
Afterwards, they would be led to 12 tables to receive the vaccine. After receiving it, they would be led to the observation area to wait their required amount of time. Those working at the clinic were a mix of both Samaritan Health Services employees and licensed medical volunteers provided by the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers, or SERV-OR.
When people completed the required time in the observation area, they were led to schedule their second vaccination dose.
The Moderna vaccine was administered to those at the clinic. In clinical trials the vaccine showed a 94.1% effective rate according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is given by a shot in the muscle of the upper arm and a second dose is given 28 days after the first.
Over the course of the week, Jan. 26 to Jan. 28, the mass vaccination clinic was able to vaccinate over 2000 people. In a statement by the Benton County Health Department, this will be the first of many.
“The mass vaccination event this week at Reser Stadium is just the first vaccination opportunity for those in Benton County,” Locey said. “We anticipate having more vaccination opportunities as the County receives more vaccines.”
In the statement Bryan Lee, Benton County emergency manager, said, “Our plan is to host mass clinics a few days each week, and adjust the hours of operation as soon as we receive confirmation of our vaccine allocation week to week.”
According to Alyssa Rash, Benton County’s public information officer, at max capacity Reser Stadium can accommodate up to 2000 vaccinations in one day. Although Reser Stadium can accommodate this many vaccinations in one day, this allocation has not been met yet and will be dependent on things such as vaccine allocation, according to the statement released by Lee.
Locey wrote via email that the county gets their vaccines about 5 days in advance. Earlier this week nine counties across Oregon were alerted that they would receive less doses this coming week, although Benton county does not appear to be among the nine receiving fewer doses.
Benton County also hopes to open up smaller clinics in rural communities to increase the equity of vaccine distribution.
Equity of distribution has been a focus by the Oregon Health Authority, and according to a report released by the OHA’s vaccine advisory committee the next groups after seniors and educators will be adults 65 and under with underlying health conditions, frontline essential workers, adults and youth in custody 16 years and older, as well as people living in low income and congregate senior housing. This group includes high representation from communities of color, including positions for Tribal, Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
At the moment the general public is still not eligible for the vaccine. Members of Benton County can see if they are eligible for the vaccine by visiting the Oregon government website. If you are eligible for the vaccine, Benton County requires for you to take a survey to make an appointment. The survey is available in both english and spanish.
As of now, the next mass vaccination clinic at Reser Stadium will be Feb. 5, with the partnership of SHS and OSU. But, it will depend on the doses that are distributed to Benton County. Those eligible for the upcoming event are people who are in groups 1-4 of Phase 1a and group 1 of Phase 1b.