Josephine Co. wraps up second mass vaccination clinic, moves closer to “community immunity”

JOSEPHINE CO., Or.- Hundreds of Josephine County residents got their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today and yesterday.

Health officials say this is an important step toward what they’re calling “community immunity.”

Josephine County is wrapping up another mass vaccination event. It was meant for people to get the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine but county public health left it open to all of Phase 1-A.

“People are interested in getting vaccinated. That’s why we are continuing to leave these second dose events open to individuals that didn’t get vaccinated last time, so that we can get the stranglers that don’t feel so hesitant this time,” said Leah Swanson, the vaccination event’s site manager and the county’s emergency preparedness coordinator.

For Cheyenne Boughton, there was no hesitation. She’s an unpaid caretaker for her autistic brother and got her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Monday.

“I’ve had a lot of anxiousness with COVID-19 and everything going on. To be able to have some reassurance that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the situation is very, very nice,” Boughton said. She says the whole process was far less stressful than she expected.

“Usually, with everything I feel like I’m going to pull my hair out to get things done, but this was so simple and easy and quick.” She even said the second shot hurt less than the first.

The walk-up event was organized by Josephine County Public Health and was aided by the Oregon National Guard and Asante. But they had some help making sure everyone could get a shot.

“Even partners in Portland helped us get enough vaccine to make sure we could vaccinate everybody here,” said Holly Nickerson, Asante’s Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety.

Officials on site says they are slowly seeing more willingness to get the vaccine, which they say can only help the community.

“We’re really focused on community immunity. If we get people that second dose, we can anticipate 94 to 95 percent effective,” Nickerson explained.

To Boughton, vaccination is a group effort.

“A lot of people have their reservations because it got pushed out so quickly and all that. I just think that if we stick together and do this all together, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we can all come out of this,” she explained.

Josephine County Public Health is organizing another mass vaccination event next Sunday and Monday. It’s for the second dose of the Moderna vaccine for those who got the first dose at their previous mass event.

Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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