Deschutes County gets state OK to begin vaccinating K-12 educators, staff – KTVZ

Expects to vaccinate 2,500 this weekend; child care providers, seniors to follow

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Deschutes County announced Thursday it has received approval from the Oregon Health Authority to begin providing COVID-19 vaccines to local K-12 educators and staff.

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 said they 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 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 Wednesday, 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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