As demand for COVID-19 vaccinations has become more manageable, Samaritan Health Services and its county health partners are pivoting to make vaccination more available in a variety of ways.
Mass vaccination events continue in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties. Appointments are encouraged but drop-ins are now welcome. These vaccination events are offered during afternoon, evening and weekend hours as well to accommodate people who can’t get to a clinic during weekday regular business hours.
Samaritan has also begun offering hospital patients the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccination. In addition, Samaritan is scheduling vaccinations at its retail pharmacies in Corvallis and Lebanon.
Vaccinations are available for all Oregonians 12 and older. The Pfizer vaccine was recently authorized for children 12 to 17 years old, and Samaritan has begun offering this vaccine to kids 12 and older at all of its mass vaccination events and any other vaccination site when Pfizer vaccine is available.
Counties Expand Vaccine Offerings
- Linn County Public Health will offer vaccines at the Albany Farmer’s Market over the next few weekends.
- Benton County is partnering with SamCare Mobile Medicine to bring vaccination to people in rural communities throughout the county.
- Lincoln County will hold vaccination clinics at the North Lincoln Fire & Rescue – Taft station in south Lincoln City this month, and the county is inviting businesses to request on-site vaccination events. Interested businesses can request a COVID-19 vaccination event through the Lincoln County website.
All of these efforts aim to bring the vaccines to people who can’t make it to a mass vaccination event. Benton and Lincoln counties lead the state in overall vaccination rates, with Corvallis owning a top 20 spot among all U.S. metro areas, but vaccination rates are lower among younger individuals.
In addition, the virus is still spreading, with nearly 370 new cases reported between May 3 and May 10 period across the region. Linn County is averaging 33 new cases every day, while Benton’s average is at 16 and Lincoln is averaging one new case per day.
COVID-19 hospitalizations at Samaritan hospitals in Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Lincoln City and Newport are reflecting the higher case numbers. Across the system, Samaritan has been caring for 15 to 21 COVID-19 inpatients on any given day since mid-April – this is the highest range of patients since early January during the late fall/early winter surge.
“We are tired of the restrictions from COVID-19, and we all want to get back to how life was before the pandemic,” said Adam Brady, MD, infectious disease specialist and chair of the Samaritan Coronavirus Task Force. “These vaccines are so effective that as more and more people get vaccinated, we will start to see cases go down and restrictions lifted. We have made great progress, but we still have a ways to go.”
The COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and very effective at preventing illness from the virus, and extremely effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19.