Vaccines largely available for un-vaccinated people, as the state approaches re-opening

JACKSON CO., Ore. — Following Governor Kate Brown’s announcement of the state re-opening this Tuesday or Wednesday, locals are preparing to go back to pre-pandemic life.

As the vaccination clinic at the expo wraps up, Jackson County Public Health officials want people to know that vaccines aren’t just going to disappear.

In fact, they’ll be available at the Jackson County Public Health Clinic for free and they encourage people to come down.

“COVID remains a significant public health issue and public health is supported and funded by various sources,” said Jackson County Public Health Officer, Dr. Jim Shames. He says COVID-19 vaccines will still be readily available for people even after the state re-opens.

Dr. Shames says money from the federal government CARES Act will pay for the vaccines.

“No one’s going to ask you for insurance information, no one’s going to ask for proof of identity, and no one is going to ask you for money,” said Dr. Shames.

Dr. Shames says Jackson County Public Health is focused on making things convenient for people to get vaccinated.

“Based on the latest CDC figures, Oregon has vaccinated 69% of adults. Oregon ranks 18th in the nation in the total population who received one dose,” said Pat Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority. Allen says Oregon is 19,000 vaccinated people away from reaching the 70% re-opening goal.

In Jackson County, Dr. Shames says around 55% of the population is vaccinated.

“It’ll be up to county commissioners and local public health officials to intervene and slow the spread of COVID-19 in their community. They’ll be in charge of conducting case investigations, contact tracing, and implementing other needed interventions – such as social distancing or mask requirements.”

Jackson County Commissioners tell me they’re still waiting to hear from OSHA and the state for more guidance, before making any decisions regarding COVID restrictions in the county.

Dr. Shames encourages people who haven’t been vaccinated to do so, as the new ‘Delta’ variant of the virus is more harmful and quickly spreading amongst un-vaccinated individuals.

“Ultimately, we need to protect more of our public than we have.”

Jackson County Commissioners tell me they’re meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m. to further discuss what COVID restrictions will remain in place.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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