Malheur County health wraps up drive-up COVID-19 vaccine/ testing efforts at fairgrounds

Malheur County Drive up COVID SITE .jpg
Posted at 6:55 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 11:06:56-04

ONTARIO, Oregon  — COVID-19 booster shots going into arms at a drive-thru clinic at the Malheur County Fairgrounds.

“The original doses that we gave out last winter were largely Moderna in this county. People have been coming in now that Moderna booster is available. We think it’s great, means that these people will be more protected against the COVID-19 virus,” said Angie Sillonis, Public Information Officer at the Malheur County Health Department.

On Thursday mark the final day for the drive-thru testing and COVID-19 vaccine site at the Malheur County Fairgrounds in Ontario. But residents still have options for COVID-19 and Flu shots.

“Starting next week, we are going to offer extended clinic hours at the health department from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday in November and December. Except for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Sillonis said.

Sillonis said they’re monitoring towns with low vaccination rates.

“The people of Harper are 19. 6 percent which is also very low, Arock and Jordan Valley is also 21 percent,” Sillonis said.

Less than half of adults in Malheur County are vaccinated and that state’s goal is 80 percent, which on Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority reported that it reached that milestone of seeing Oregonians over the age of 18 have at least one dose against COVID-19.

“Reaching 80 percent is an important milestone because it loosens COVID-19’s grip on our state. Vaccines work and we know they save lives. We strongly encourage everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so at their earliest opportunity. Getting vaccinated is – quite simply – our state’s best way out of this pandemic,” said Rachael Banks, OHA’s Public Health Director in a press statement. “We’ve made significant progress in closing the vaccination gap, among people of color and rural communities. But Oregon is still below the 80% threshold of those vaccinated for these groups.

At the Four Rivers Cultural Center, it’s partnering with Bi-mart to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

“One of the ways we are encouraging people is by offering the vaccine clinic in connection with our programming. when something is offered to you by somebody you trust, and you are already at an event. it’s a lot easier to ask a question because it’s coming from a trusted source,” said Allison Simon, program and outreach director at the Four Rivers Cultural Center.

Simon said, last month the cultural center hosted a Mexican Independence Day celebration while offering an opportunity for people to get vaccinated.

“I think we were able to vaccinate about 81 people that day and we didn’t anticipate that, our goal was 30,” Simon said.

Click here to view the cultural center's programs and events.