FEMA’s Covid-19 ‘Vaccination Van’ Rolls into Molalla

A Covid-19 “vaccination van” operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Oregon Health Authority is in Molalla this week to serve residents in Molalla, Colton, and Mulino.

Also known as a mobile vaccination unit or MVU, the bus will be in Molalla through Tuesday, Nov. 23, before visiting other parts of Clackamas County in the coming weeks, including Estacada and Sandy.

Held in the parking lot of the United Methodist Church, the clinic will be open Nov. 19 to 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Sunday, Nov. 21 when the clinic is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, the mobile unit will be open and ready to serve ages 12 and up on Nov. 18.

The MVU is providing free vaccines throughout Oregon to everyone who is eligible. The bus has the capacity to vaccinate up to 500 people each day. The van also accommodates Covid-19 testing.

FEMA says they provide these mobile sites to bring vaccination centers closer to the communities and people that need them, and that they frequently see patients overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude when they receive their shot.

“It happens so much, you don’t even think about it anymore,” said Timothy James Hall, OHA field operations coordinator. “People were holding off for data, holding off to see how it worked for other people. Finally, they made the decision to do it and they are relieved. There is a lot of emotion.”

The MVU has been making the rounds across the state bringing vaccines free of charge to everyone who is eligible. It comes courtesy of FEMA, which responded to OHA’s request for assistance to establish and support the MVU. The federal agency also provides personnel, financial assistance, equipment and supplies.

Getting vaccinated is not an easy choice for everyone. Some have been frightened by misinformation; some are uncertain which of the three vaccines is best for them and some are just plain scared of needles.

“We’ve certainly seen a lot of folks who are scared of needles,” said Chris Rushing, OHA field operations manager and FEMA liaison. “I had one lady that just said, ‘Hey will you hold my hand while I get the vaccination.’ So, I held her hand. It went great. There are a lot of stories like that.

“We certainly have a lot of instances of people wanting to get the information, then going home to think about it and coming back on another day. That’s really what we want—for people to make educated decisions about what is right for them.”

According to OHA, about 50% of residents in Molalla are vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in Clackamas County. But you don’t have to be a Molalla resident to get a vaccine at the mobile unit. Everyone 5 and older is eligible, and you don’t need an appointment or ID.

The van offers pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine and adult doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for those 18 and older. It is also administering booster doses.

The United Methodist Church is located at 111 South Mathias Road in Molalla. For more information about the vaccine and availability, visit clackamas.us/coronavirus/vaccine, or consult your trusted primary care provider or pediatrician.

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