While rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has been slower than anticipated statewide, Clackamas County does not appear to have had that problem.
“So far, Clackamas County has received 2,000 vaccines and have already administered nearly all of them,” Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith said in a video update Friday. “We are asking the Oregon Health Authority to send us more.”
According to the vaccination schedule outlined by the state, front-line workers in health care facilities and first responders such as 911 operators, law enforcement and firefighters are the county’s top priority in receiving the vaccine.
(Workers and residents in long-term facilities also have the highest priority, but the state is taking the lead on this administration.)
“But please remember: It is always your choice whether you get the vaccine or not, regardless of employment or any other status,” Smith said.
First responders in Canby, Molalla, Aurora and Colton were given the option of taking the shot at clinics earlier this week, with Canby Police Chief Bret Smit and Fire Chief Jim Davis first in line.
“I am proud of our public health team and our staff at our public health centers, who — within one day — distributed almost all the shipment to the people who will be giving shots to the people who need them the most,” Smith said.
Other priority groups include teachers and other school staff, correctional facilities, outpatient facilities serving high-risk groups, in-home day care facilities, dental and optometrists’ offices, hospice care and other public health and early learning settings.
“Right now, we don’t have enough vaccines,” Smith said. “So the timing of when these groups will receive their vaccinations is unclear. However, we do know it’s going to be several months before many people can get vaccinated. It could be summer before there is enough for the general public.”
When the time comes, Smith encourages those who want to take the vaccine to arrange a vaccination through their primary care provider or pharmacy. The county also plans to host vaccination clinics, though no dates have been set.
With this video, Smith, who — prior to assuming office — had drawn both praise and criticism for pushing back on certain statewide coronavirus restrictions, including those affecting businesses and private social gatherings, appeared to signal that she does plans to take public health and Covid-19 seriously in her role as county chair.
“I want to thank every single citizen in our county for obeying the rules — wearing masks, social distancing — to try to keep this virus from spreading,” she said.
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