Low demand shuts Clackamas clinic, 40% of county vaccinated
Wilsonville City Councilor Joann Linville expressed concern about the percentage of residents who had received a COVID-19 vaccine during a meeting Monday, May 4. Meanwhile, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue is winding down its vaccination clinic at Wilsonville's Clackamas Community College, citing decreased demand and an increase in alternative vaccination options.
According to data compiled by The Oregonian as of April 14, 38.8% of the Wilsonville population in the 97070 ZIP code had been at least partially vaccinated. That number has likely risen since, as Linville noted. Current data in Oregon shows that 43% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 13% are in the process of getting vaccinated. In Clackamas County, vaccination rates were 42%. The April 14 data showed that some poorer areas in the region have vaccination rates around 30% while some more affluent areas hovered around 50%.
Linville thought that receiving the vaccine had been too inconvenient for many people, particularly seniors.
"I'm certain that that number (38.8%) has increased significantly since the 14th of April but I think it is reflective of the entire process that was put in place for people to have only two places to go to get immunized early on, especially as seniors, and that was at the airport or else at the convention center," Linville said. "For people I've heard from, going to the convention center was a barrier to them to be able to go."
She added that pharmacies initially didn't offer vaccines.
"I think there were many seniors who gave up and said it's just too hard to get an immunization at this point," Linville said.
However, Linville noted that the city helped identify the current immunization clinic site administered by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue at the Clackamas Community College Wilsonville campus, which paid dividends.
According to TVF&R Public Information Officer Cassandra Ulven, the fire department is administering the final first doses of the Moderna vaccine this week (though she said plans could change) and will close the clinic June 9. She said while 100% of their open slots previously had been filled within hours, around 40% of appointment slots were vacant in the last week. She added that the need to free up personnel to prepare for the upcoming fire season and the increase in the number of pharmacies administering shots were factors in the decision to close. According to Ulven, the fire district has administered over 60,000 COVID-19 inoculations at its various clinics.
"At some point we expected there would be more providers available, concurrently with less demand in the community, so that's why we decided to plan to demobilize and transition by June," Ulven said.
According to a cursory Google search, Walgreens, Costco and CVS Pharmacy are offering vaccines via appointment. Linville said that the city would get information out if there are immunization opportunities at local pharmacies. She also said she's discussed with an Oregon Health Authority representatives the need for a walk-in (rather than appointment only) clinics.
Linville also gave kudos to the Wilsonville Alliance for Inclusive Communities for setting up a phone bank to get Spanish speakers scheduled and putting together a flyer in Spanish to inform them about vaccination opportunities. COVID-19 vaccination rates for those who identify as Hispanic or Latino were about 50% lower than the state's average, according to an OPB article.
"WAIC has really taken the leadership (role) on this effort," Linville said.
Linville was worried about vaccination opportunities potentially becoming more limited and stressed the importance of the city getting information out to the community. The Wilsonville government recently highlighted vaccination opportunities at the Portland International Airport this weekend and at the Nike campus in Beaverton Friday and Saturday on social media.
Ulven thanked the city of Wilsonville for providing staff members to help out at the CCC clinic and said administering the vaccines has been a great experience for fire district personnel.
"(We) considered it a once-in-a-lifetime experience because none of us basically that are working now have ever experienced anything like this. To be part of that is pretty awesome," she said.
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