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Oregon National Guard joins mass COVID-19 vaccination effort
Members of the military have joined Oregon's efforts to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations.
Gov. Kate Brown toured a vaccination site on Wednesday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds where Salem Health and the Oregon National Guard teamed up to execute the state's first mass vaccination clinic.
The governor watched as Guard members gave shots to Marion County healthcare workers. Oregon is still trying to work through the tens of thousands of healthcare workers and first responders who are first in line to receive the vaccine.
Brown's office said the governor has not yet been vaccinated.
Oregon has experienced a slow start in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines, in part because officials have been ironing out details on what order various groups will receive them in.
The state plans to inoculate people in large numbers at mass vaccination clinics such as the one held in Salem.
"It's part of the solution, this is a very replicable model we can hopefully replicate in Portland and Southern Oregon and Central Oregon but we are going to need other models as well," Brown said.
Brown said Oregon is working on plans to distribute the vaccine next to seniors, teachers and other school staff starting Jan. 23. That group includes about 800,000 people but Oregon is currently receiving just 50,000 doses each week.
The Veterans Administration in Portland has been contacting Portland and Vancouver residents who are 75 and older to schedule their vaccines. The VA plans to host mass vaccination clinics by appointment starting next week.
Wednesday COVID-19 update
The Guard vaccinations happened on the same day that Oregon reported 14 new virus-related deaths, increasing the state toll to 1,708.
The Oregon Health Authority also added 1,346 cases of COVID-19 as well, bringing the total number of recorded infections to 129,109.
Hospitalizations pertaining to the virus increased by 31 admissions and intensive care bed occupants increased by 10.
OHA also reported that nearly 15,000 new doses of the vaccine have been added to the state's immunization registry — nearly two-thirds of which have been administered. The agency said an additional 5,651 doses were administered in previous days but had not yet been entered into the registry.
The new cases were reported were from the following counties: Baker (16), Benton (29), Clackamas (105), Clatsop (10), Columbia (13), Coos (9), Crook (19), Deschutes (89), Douglas (25), Gilliam (1), Grant (8), Harney (2), Hood River (6), Jackson (58), Jefferson (23), Josephine (64), Klamath (32), Lake (2), Lane (98), Lincoln (3), Linn (50), Malheur (24), Marion (97), Morrow (9), Multnomah (307), Polk (28), Tillamook (11), Umatilla (52), Union (7), Wasco (13), Washington (110) and Yamhill (26).
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