Federal COVID-19 vaccine center coming to Jackson County

Ryan Pfeil, Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore.
·3 min read

Apr. 12—State, federal and local health agencies will open a new COVID-19 vaccination center later this month at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, an initiative intended to bring 1,000 more vaccine doses a day to the Rogue Valley.

The initiative, which kicks off April 21 — two days after all Oregonians 16 and older will become eligible for vaccination — is a collaboration between the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Jackson County Health and Human Services, and Jackson County Emergency Management, health officials said.

Referred to as a "Pilot Community Vaccination Center," it will be the first of its kind in Oregon and second in the Pacific Northwest, according to a news release from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. It is intended to support Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties, "an area of the state that was hard hit during last year's historic wildfire season," the release said.

The center will offer drive-thru and walk-up options and a mobile clinic that travels out into the community, county health officials said. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be administered. Operations will run alongside the county's walk-up clinic that is already open for business, said Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health's health promotion manager.

"It is going to add to what we currently have here," Phillips said. "We will have our walk-up clinic how we have it now."

Jackson County Public Health previously moved its main COVID-19 vaccination clinic from its main office, 140 S. Holly St., Medford, to Padgham Pavilion at the Jackson County Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point, in March after a waterline break. That clinic is administering an average of 1,500 vaccine doses per week, Phillips said, and the county clinic hopes to be able to eventually administer 3,900 per week. That's on top of the imminent federal and state aid.

Visit jcorcovid19.org/VaccineAppointments to make an appointment or to see more information about eligibility.

The news adds to a spate of recent local vaccine offering announcements, including a Rogue Community Health Clinic planned for April 15 in Butte Falls, one for Amy's Kitchen employees, and one at the Veterans Affairs Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics. Local health officials continue to encourage more vaccinations against the illness, especially with more infectious mutations of the virus circulating.

The latest group to become vaccine-eligible in Jackson County includes multigenerational households, frontline workers, and age-eligible family members in the same household, and people age 16 to 44 with at least one underlying health condition.

On Monday, 38,893 Jackson County residents were considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 23,594 others had received one shot in a two-dose regimen, according to Oregon Health Authority data. Statewide, 916,207 Oregonians were fully vaccinated, with 531,417 others who had received one dose.

Jackson County Public Health reported 11 new COVID-19 cases Monday, increasing the local caseload to 9,65. There were also 294 statewide, raising Oregon's cumulative total to 170,850.

OHA also reported another death from the disease, bringing the statewide COVID-19 death toll to 2,441.

OHA officials reported 177 hospitalizations statewide, two fewer than Sunday, with 48 of those cases in intensive care unit beds, two more than Sunday. In Jackson and Josephine counties, 26 residents were hospitalized with the illness Monday, three more than Sunday, according to OHA data.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.