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C.O. grocery workers finally eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

(Update: Adding video, comments)

'It's been a long time coming'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Many people across Central Oregon have been able to work remotely since the onset of the pandemic, but grocery store employees are one of the largest groups that has never had that as an option.

But according to the Oregon Health Authority, those on the frontlines are now finally eligible for a COVID-19, after months of patiently waiting since the initial rollout in Deschutes County back in December.

Aaron Price, the store director for Food 4 Less in Bend, says it's been a long time coming.

"General feeling is that grocery employees should have been one of the first groups to go," Price said Wednesday. "There's a lot of anxious people out there, being as exposed as we have been for the last 13 months."

Price says his employees never had the option to work from home, and he feels you would be hard-pressed to find a more exposed industry.

But providing an everyday service to the community kept his team pushing forward.

"We're literally here for the community," Price said. "We wore it as a badge of honor, you know, that we were still going to work every day and putting health and safety on the line."

Several workers we spoke with said getting the vaccine is not only professionally important, but personally as well.

One of those workers is Leesa Hicks, who works as the person in charge for Food 4 Less.

"I have an appointment Friday morning before work, and I'm super-excited," Hicks said.

Hicks said she lives with her elderly mother, so an opportunity to avoid getting her sick is one she'll take.

And other workers, like Newport Avenue Market Store Manager Erika Maloley, share a similar sentiment.

"Today, I received a text message saying that I was eligible for a vaccine and was able to schedule it for Friday," Maloley said. "It pretty much almost brought me to tears."

Maloley says just like any other business, their store did not have a pandemic playbook, but they continued to adapt, and they hope to reach the finish line soon.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



  1. Ya’ll seen your national and local headlines ??? “Jobless claims nationwide are up- Humanitarian crisis at the US border as immigrants crash the gates- oil and fuel prices surging with no end in sight- consumer goods follow suit as the price of “everything” skyrockets- Joke Biden continues to print and spend your money likes it’s Monopoly cash (worthless)- Iraq Syria, North Korea, Russia… all back on the enemies list- the only country not in Joe’s gray old cross-hairs is “China”… who has told the old fart to go back down in the basement they’ll let him know when it’s time to tell the world that China had no part in the Corona Virus global release… Cripes if I didn’t know any better- I’d swear it was 2010 all over again. Nice work libs- enjoy yer “winning victory” !

    1. Hey morongetshiswish, you forgot to say something stupid about Kate Brown or is the restraining order updated? Some people have lives and hobbies but you? Only a idiot would make sweeping judgements over a leader in office for few months but the country was doing so well under a orange baboon *** for the last four years.

      1. Actually the country was doing well. Almost every measurable stat showed that. You fools started making sweeping judgments about Trump before he even took office, so take that somewhere else Also think about this if your capable of making your own thoughts. Your little sleepy leader hasn’t just been in office for a few months moron. This guy has been in politics probably longer than you have been alive. Not sure if you remember this because he barely does ,but he was the vice president for 8 years. Go home now, the people with a little bit of intellect are talking here.

        1. Was is the word. Then a virus that didn’t care how much Trump denied it existed. Then all the conspiracies started. What’s the defense now? Oh yea, reasonable people would never have believed it …..

          1. Cmon Martha- how exactly did Pres. Trump deny the existence of the virus when he was the first global leader to recognize what was happening and shut down air travel from Wuhan- demanded that the W.H.O. investigate the virus release- doled out millions to every whiny Demokrat governor who got caught with the pants down having failed to replenish their PPE and medical supplies after Obama’s H1N1 skrew-up- then led the world to engineer a miracle vaccine in less than 10 months… and Trump did “ALL” this while facing false allegations-impeachment-daily attacks by the media and all kinds of haters… Now you all got what you wanted- Sleepy Joe- ever increasing unemployment- an end to US energy independence- a return to war in the Middle East- open borders with a steady stream of human traffickers- drug dealers- and terrorists- trillions of dollars in freely minted money that you will never see- consumer good prices surging with no end in sight- and a VP who sleeps at the Holiday Inn ! Damn lefty lib girl- it’s all good !

        2. Well I actually voted for Dump thinking he would change things but instead he totally &^%$ed up almost everything. Guess the orange anus did so well that he was voted out by millions of voters (popular vote)? Keep living in denial and stay in your mobile tool box.

          1. According to Bloomberg- “Trump’s Economy Really Was Better Than Obama’s At least until the pandemic, the president’s unconventional policy got unprecedented results.” Really Groaner- messed everything up ? Here- try some more facts on fer size- “In 2016, real median household income was $62,898, just $257 above its level in 1999. Over the next three years it grew almost $6,000, to $68,703.”… Thank You President Screw Up. ! Thank gawd you all got yer Joke Biden in office- we can now get back to them 2010 levels of unemployment as we just saw another uptick in claims- back to unprecedented gasoline prices… ours have gone from $2.40 to $3.35 since Biden started mucking things up ! And just look at that trickle down Joe’s created- consumer prices through the roof- with promise of more to come- and more taxes- Joe promised he’d do that too by golly ! Oh yeh- China Joes a real catch- back to bombing Syria- women- children- he’s got a full scale human catastrophe on the US Southern border on his hands too- all them promises to open the US to one and all- yup- can’t get any better than this !

        3. Unfortunately you are absolutely correct when you say ” the people with a little bit of intellect are talking here” those are the conservatives on this forum!

      1. Read the post again brainiac ! “Joke Biden continues to print and spend your money likes it’s Monopoly cash (worthless)”… Ya get that the second time ??? “print and spend” !!! Here lemme help- it means you ain’t gonna get diddly- nobody is !

    1. Actually what they said was. “The ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine confirms its protection lasts at least six months after the second dose, the companies said Thursday.” 4/1.

  2. This is NOT a vaccine KTVZ so quit calling it that. It IS an experimental drug, and the consequences of taking it won’t be known right away. This drug has nothing to do with the virus, trust me.

    1. It is a vaccine, and people have been receiving it for a year. About 100 million in the U.S. alone. An independent, non-government panel of medical experts all across the country recommended its authorization; why should anyone trust you over them?

    2. Why would you not think it is a vaccine? It is a new method of vaccination in that it isn’t dead or impotent virus injected that incite an immune response by our bodies but a message to our cells to produce immunity. It has been clinically tested in scientific trials involving over 14,000 people and proven to be very clinically effective.

      My only question is why are the grocery workers who truly have been frontline workers throughout all of this interacting with hundreds of people a day from all walks of life just now eligible for the vaccine after the homeless, prisoners, minorities, caregivers, and teachers? Oh yeah, that would be another non-sensical mandate of our governor

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