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Deschutes to open vaccine appointments Tuesday AM; systems buckle under strain

'Our systems were not built to handle this volume ... We appreciate everyone's patience'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County and St. Charles Health System said Monday they plan to open scheduling for vaccine appointments on Tuesday morning, but acknowledged their online and phone systems are already buckling under the strain.

The Oregon Health Authority has allocated 2,340 first-dose COVID-19 vaccines to Deschutes County for this week, 800 fewer than last week, when all appointment slots were booked in two hours. Following state guidance, adults 65 and older will now be eligible to schedule appointments.

Beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m., adults 65 and older may schedule a vaccine appointment:

  • Online: The easiest and fastest way to sign up for an appointment is to schedule online at
    • If you are having difficulties signing up online, please watch this video, which outlines the online appointment registration process.
  • By Phone: If you do not have access to a computer or do not have someone who can assist you in signing up for an appointment online, please call 541-699-5109. Staff are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Please be prepared to wait on hold or call back, as this line is experiencing high call volumes.

“As is happening consistently throughout the nation, our supply of vaccine is not enough to meet the demand here in Central Oregon, and our website and call center have both been overwhelmed by the high volume of interest,” said Jeremiah Brickhouse, chief information officer for St. Charles Health System.

“Our systems were not built to handle this volume, but we are actively working to address the problems. We can’t guarantee that the upgrades we have made so far will be enough to handle the volume this coming week, but please know we will continue to work on improvements going forward. We appreciate everyone’s patience.”

Nearly 40,000 Deschutes County residents age 65 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. To date, an estimated 15,000 residents 65 and older have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine.

If weekly allocations do not increase, Deschutes County Health Services estimates that it may take until early May to be able to offer a first-dose appointment to all residents who are 65 and older.

“Unfortunately, due to limited vaccine supply, not everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine will be able to schedule an appointment this week,” said Dr. George Conway, Deschutes County Health Services Director. “With current allocations, it may be several weeks before everyone who is eligible is able to be scheduled.”

Governor Brown has announced the upcoming vaccine sequencing phases. Phase 1B, Group 6 will include adults 45–64 with one or more underlying health conditions with increased risk, migrant and seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, food processing workers and people living in low-income senior housing, senior congregate and independent living. This group will become eligible to receive the vaccine beginning March 29.

Federal Retail Pharmacy Program
Some retail pharmacies in Central Oregon are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible groups through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. There will not be enough vaccines to vaccinate all eligible Oregonians at these locations due to the limited supply. Appointments may be available by visiting

Vaccine eligibility

Beginning March 1, eligible groups include:

To determine if you are eligible for a vaccine, visit get

Central Oregonians in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties can sign up here to be notified when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in Central Oregon

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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