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Despite challenges, Deschutes vaccination site making strong progress

Last week, the fairgrounds clinic administered nearly 4,000 vaccines in a day

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Molly Wells Darling, deputy commander with the Deschutes County Incident Management Team, wants to vaccinate as many county residents for COVID-19 as possible, but admits a dose-dependent schedule is not ideal.

“Not knowing the (next week's) doses until a Thursday afternoon or evening can make it really difficult to plan out,” Wells-Darling told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday.

The vaccination site at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond usually operates three days a week between Wednesday and Saturday. Despite the challenges in not knowing the number of vaccines too far in advance, the site got nearly 4,000 residents inoculated in just one day last week, up one-third from the usual number.

And there's been serious progress: According to the Deschutes County Health Department, 79% of residents 65 and older have been vaccinated while 87% of residents 80 and older have been vaccinated.

The goal now for the vaccination site, according to Wells Darling, is to get the vaccination schedule up to four days a week, and getting all residents that want a vaccine to have at least one dose by the end of May.

“So if we are able to do one more clinic day a week, that can be up to 3,100 more people (a week)," Wells Darling said. "It’s a very efficient method of getting vaccine out to our community.”

Since the mass vaccination site opened at the fairgrounds, about 10,000 residents have been vaccinated a week, but as vaccine availability increases, that number will soon be closer 15,000.

“Each week, we are seeing more and more (vaccines),” Wells Darling said.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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