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High-volume vaccination clinic can see up to 1,000 daily

Jackson County residents who’ve been making phone calls and scouring the internet to get a COVID-19 shot have an easier option with the launch of a vaccination clinic that can handle up to 1,000 people a day.

Jackson County Public Health, Asante and Providence announced Friday they have partnered on the high-volume vaccination clinic in Medford. It’s open by appointment to anyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 shot.

“Creating this clinic means the people in our community no longer need to worry about how or where they can get vaccinated,” said Dr. Jim Shames, medical director for Jackson County Public Health. “Once they’re eligible, it will simply be a matter of scheduling an appointment.”

To book an appointment, call 541-789-2813 and select option two for English or option three for Spanish. The address of the clinic will be provided at the time an appointment is made.

The partners have 20 people on board to answer calls, although there may be times when waits are long due to overwhelming demand for the vaccine, said Doug Ward, vice president of operations for Asante Physician Partners.

“We do ask for patience from the public as we’re doing our best to really move through as many people as possible and get them vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Ward said.

Still, the process should be easier than what many residents have been experiencing as they search for the scarce vaccine.

Every week, Jackson County Public Health, Asante and Providence have been fielding hundreds of phone calls and emails from people wanting information on how, where and when to get vaccinated, they said.

The partners had been working since early February on the logistics for a joint vaccine clinic, a centralized phone number and staffing to answer phone calls.

“We want to ensure the person’s experience with the process is positive and that their access to care is streamlined,” Ward said.

The vaccination clinic can handle up to 1,000 people a day and runs five days a week, he said.

Shots are administered at no out-of-pocket cost to people getting vaccinated. Insurance will be billed, but any co-pays will not be collected. People without insurance will not be charged.

Pooling resources to run a joint vaccination clinic is more efficient than Jackson County Public Health, Asante and Providence creating their own vaccination processes, said Dr. Brandan Hull, area medical director for Providence Medical Group and a family practice physician.

“We’re honored to take part in this effort to serve our community, and we hope that our work will help put an end to the COVID pandemic as soon as possible,” he said.

The vaccination clinic can scale up or down based on the amount of vaccine the state ships to Jackson County each week. The federal supply of vaccine that’s distributed to states hasn’t been enough to meet demand, and shipments from Oregon to the county have fluctuated.

Shames said Jackson County is hoping more vaccine will come to the area in the next few weeks.

People who make an appointment for the high-volume vaccination clinic should arrive on time and follow safety measures like mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing and social distancing.

Vaccines will still be available in other locations in the community, including participating pharmacies and independent medical clinics.

All people 65 and older are currently eligible for a COVID-19 shot under Oregon Healthy Authority rules on vaccination prioritization.

Other eligible people include those who work in the health care industry, first responders, nursing home residents and staff, residents and staff living in group homes like adult foster care, people working or living in correctional settings, early learning workers, child care providers and K-12 teachers and staff.

Effective no later than March 29, eligibility will expand to adults ages 45-64 with one or more underlying health conditions that put them at risk, migrant and seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, homeless people, people displaced by wildfires and wildland firefighters.

Effective no later than May 1, eligibility expands to frontline workers in a variety of industries with exposure to the public and co-workers, multi-generational household members and people ages 16-44 with one or more underlying health conditions.

Effective no later than June 1, people ages 45 to 64 become eligible.

All Oregonians 16 and older become eligible no later than July 1.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Photo courtesy of AsanteA worker in the health care industry receives a COVID-19 shot at a high-volume vaccination clinic in Medford launched by Jackson County Public Health, Asante and Providence.