How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in western Lane County

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Lane County Public Health details best ways to access info

March 17, 2021 — Just three months into vaccinating Oregon’s population, the state has fully vaccinated 493,440 Oregonians against the novel coronavirus COVID-19. More than 1.3 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the state since Dec. 14.

More locally, Lane County has vaccinated 79,040 people out of its population of 378,879. Of those vaccines, 63,102 have been Pfizer, 57,915 have been Moderna and 1,778 have been the newest vaccine, Johnson & Johnson.

As of Tuesday, 44,521 people in the county are fully vaccinated.

“I believe that your zip code is the second most vaccinated zip code proportionally in Lane County right now,” stated Lane County Public Health (LCPH) Public Information Officer Jason Davis. “In terms of the percentage of overall people that have been vaccinated, Florence is really high up there.

This is in large part due to two mass vaccination clinics conducted by Lane County Search and Rescue, LCPH and the City of Florence at the Florence Events Center on March 3 and 6.

“Right now in Florence, we have several different options for you to get a vaccination,” Davis said. “First of all, preregistering with the county will continue to be a good option — because that’s how you get your vaccinations from Fred Meyer, PeaceHealth Peace Harbor, Bi-Mart or at a mass vaccination event.”

People can either call LCPH at 541-682-1380 or go to lanecounty.org/coronavirus to sign up for the vaccine. Once preregistered, names in eligible categories are added to a pool and then contacted as vaccination appointments become available.

“The county is by far the leading vaccinator and your best bet on receiving a vaccination in a timely way,” Davis said.

Additionally, pharmacies are also receiving doses of vaccine. People can contact local pharmacies directly to get added to their lists.

“If I was eligible right now, and I really want to get a vaccine, my first step would be to preregister with Lane County, because that's going to open up the most availabilities for me,” Davis said. “And then secondly, I would look into pharmacies who have vaccine right now and I would enroll with them as well, to schedule an appointment.”

Some pharmacies, like Safeway, are getting their vaccine doses through a federal program, rather than the State of Oregon or LCPH. It is difficult for the health agencies to track those vaccines — “Nevertheless, people are getting vaccinated that way, so that's still good news,” Davis added.

LCPH is working to keep doses of vaccine flowing to western Lane County.

“Those pharmacies out in Florence are getting a slightly higher allocation amount per week than we’re seeing in the Eugene/Springfield area. The ones that we're working with out there are Bi-Mart, Fred Meyer and Peace Harbor,” Davis said.

Currently, Peace Harbor is getting around 100 doses, Fred Meyer is getting around 300 doses, and Bi-Mart is getting between 100 and 200 doses.

“When you add all those up, it's a nice option for folks in Florence,” Davis said.

The vaccines that LCPH is administering right now are mostly Pfizer and Moderna. People in Florence have reported receiving each kind of vaccine, including the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This newest vaccine can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures and is much more stable than the early vaccines. In addition, it doesn’t require a second shot.

“It's a much more pragmatic a dose to administer and to work with, so we're really looking forward to having that and rolling it out,” Davis said.

LCPH is expecting “a lot more doses” of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after recent federal announcements, Davis said, which will double the state’s vaccination allocation.

Right now, the State of Oregon receives 80,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines per week. Beginning March 22, some 80,000 Johnson & Johnson doses also will be coming in.

“That'll effectively double our doses, and we expect to see that trickle down to the county level as well,” Davis.

Additional supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will become available in April.

Locally, some people have expressed concern about how to reach their vaccination appointment, especially if they are homebound. While the county does offer some mobile vaccinations, Davis encouraged people to use their networks for transportation or to let the county know their concerns once they are contacted about making a vaccination appointment.

“People who feel as though they're at elevated risk and are afraid to go out, you can rest assured that at the clinics that we're conducting, we're working very hard to make sure that those are safe environments to receive your vaccine,” Davis said. “Especially with Peace Harbor, that is a very safe option for those folks and one in which people can go into confidently knowing that they're not going to be in any elevated risk than they would with any other activity outside of their home.”

LCPH is working on the accessibility of the vaccine, including accommodating people’s travel needs.

“For individuals for whom transportation is the main barrier, we are working with several different partners to transport people to the actual clinics themselves, as well as the mobile strike team. When they're pre-registering, either through email or phone pre-registration, they can indicate whether or not they have a transportation issue,” Davis said.

LCPH will contact people through the method they pre-registered, so by phone or email.

“From that point on, that is going to be the way that we contact you and the way that we get all information to you,” Davis said.

He reminded people to check their junk or spam folders, since emails might get automatically filtered.

He also encouraged patience, since all eligible people are in a pool of names, rather than a line.

“It might not be the first week you pre-register, it might not even be the second, but we will get to you,” Davis promised. “In the meantime, we’re going to send you an informational email every week, just to let you know, ‘Hey, as long as you're receiving these emails, you're still in the preregistration list.’ We're going to tell you where we're at in the process and how it's going. Then eventually, we're going to reach out to you, either by email or phone, to schedule you for a vaccine appointment.”

These appointments might be at a pharmacy, Peace Harbor or through another mass vaccination clinic.

This is the time when people should tell LCPH about any accommodations they require.

“If you're a homebound individual who's pre-registered, and now we're scheduling you, you can say, ‘Well, I can't get out of my house, what do I do?’ Tell them at the time of scheduling, and then we'll figure out some sort of way to accommodate you,” Davis said.

Then, for people receiving the prime dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they will be scheduled for their booster dose.

LCPH will contact people between 21 days and 42 days to schedule the booster dose.

“You don't have to worry about getting a second dose,” Davis said. “When the Oregon Health Authority allocates a prime dose, they also set aside a booster, so we have one for you. You're good to go — but we have to be able to get a hold of you.”

Again, people should check their phone or email to get the next dose scheduled.

Davis said that the two mass vaccinations in Florence will also see large-scale events to administer the second dose.

“They will be set up very similarly, where we receive the boost allocation and then set up an event to quickly move through those doses,” he said. “Given the number of individuals that were vaccinated there in Florence initially, that really is the most expedient way of handling those vaccines.”

According to the City of Florence, people who received their first dose pf the Pfizer vaccine March 3 will be scheduled to receive their Pfizer booster March 24. Those who received their first dose March 6 will also be scheduled, though the date has not yet been selected.

Both events again will be held at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St.

The process for the vaccination clinic will be the same as it was for the first dose of vaccine.

If people have additional questions, Davis directed them to the frequently asked questions and other resources at LCPH at https://lanecounty.org/coronavirus, as well as through https://ci.florence.or.us.

“Your best resources are your local ones. The state does the best, but a lot of times they're disconnected with what's happening in an actual community. And so, Lane County and the City of Florence are going to be your best bets for information about what's happening here, how to get a vaccine here and how to navigate the preregistration system,” Davis said.

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