Jackson Co. community health partners collaborate on vaccine clinic

MEDFORD, Ore.- Community collaboration has been the theme of vaccination in Jackson County.

“There is a number of other smaller entities in the community that really banded together to do what is best for the community and try to vaccinate people as quickly as possible,” said Doug Ward, Vice President of Operations for Asante Physician Partners.

He and other medical officials unveiled a brand new county-wide collaboration: a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic. It’s a result of a partnership between Asante, Providence, and Jackson County Public Health.

“Representatives of the entire medical community have been meeting regularly to develop these plans together. Now we are pooling our resources for a single vaccination clinic,” explained Providence’s Dr. Brandan Hull. He says the new clinic will simplify the vaccination process for residents. It’s been in the works since early February.

Its goal is to centralize scheduling and vaccinations, and also adjust to the varying federal supply.

“A clinic like this can be nimble, can expand, and we can do our best to get vaccines in arms,” said Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames. He says it will also help address the medical inequality exposed by the pandemic.

“The issue of equity has been very important to us and we want to make sure that whether or not you have transportation or language barriers or others, we can provide you with vaccination opportunities,” he explained.

Unlike the Expo events the partners held earlier this year, this new clinic, at an Asante facility, will operate five days a week. It’s goal is administer up to a thousand doses every day.

Asante, Providence and Jackson County Public Health say their partnership is the best way to vaccinate the local population. The centralized clinic will make it easy to know where to go when you’re eligible.

People can call the county’s vaccination hotline at 541-789-2813 to schedule a reservation when eligible, and even be connected with other community partners, like La Clinica. While some reservation-only clinics have struggled with no-shows and have risked vaccine going to waste, Ward says they even have a plan for that.

“We have a kind of a list of people at the end of the day if we forecast we are going to have extra vaccines.”

Just like the mass vaccination events at the Expo, the clinic is staffed by a mix of Asante, Providence, and other volunteers.

“This is broader than just Asante and Providence,” said Dr. Hull. “We welcome the involvement of all the medical community to help with this.”

“We have retired nurses, retired physicians coming in to vaccinate, mix vaccines, direct traffic. Non-clinical folks as well,” said Ward.

The collaborative effort is also underway this weekend in Josephine County. Ward says they already have about 1,000 reservations for the clinic, and people can still call the vaccine hotline to make one.

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