75 and Older Now Eligible for Vaccine, but Supply remains Limited

As those 75 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, demand continues to far exceed supply. North Central Public Health District asks for your continued patience and perseverance.

Please keep in mind that everyone who wants a vaccine will get one, but it will take many weeks to vaccinate our older population.

North Central Public Health District serves three counties, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam. Wasco County alone has over 2,100 people who are 75 and older.

This morning NCPHD emailed a link to our online booking system to over 700 eligible older people, as per state eligibility rules. However, we were only able to make 250 slots available for bookings. They filled in one hour. We ask those eligible to check back weekly for new openings.

Obtaining a vaccine through the health department is a two-step process. First, people are asked to place themselves on our vaccine eligibility notification list. The eligibility form is online, and the link to it can be found at https://www.ncphd.org/phase-notifications.

Once you are on the notification list, when your group becomes eligible for vaccine you will be emailed a link to our online booking system. We recognize there are more people eligible than available vaccines. We know this can be frustrating, but we ask the public to bear with us through this process and be persistent about checking for openings.

Recognizing that older people may not have internet or email, or may not be tech savvy, we encourage the community to reach out to their older relatives, friends and neighbors to see if they need help signing up for this notification.

That help could include offering to use your own email if they don’t have one. You can use your own email for multiple people. If you do that, you would get the booking link when the person become eligible, and you would have to book the vaccine appointments for them.

NCPHD uses the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses given at least 28-42 days apart. The vaccine is 95 percent effective against COVID illness.

Mid-Columbia Senior Center has graciously offered to help seniors with no internet to book an appointment. They can be reached at 541-296-4788. And Mid-Columbia Medical Center volunteers are calling their senior patients to offer help with the process.

For help getting a ride to the vaccine appointment, seniors can call the LINK dial-a-ride at 541-296- 7595 for a door-to-door ride, which costs $1.50 each way. Seniors can also ride on a fixed route, also for

$1.50 each way, which makes a stop at Building 3 on the nearby Columbia Gorge Community College campus and they could then walk to the Fort Dalles Readiness Center where the vaccine clinics occur.

(For more information, please visit COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon or contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600 or visit us on the web at www.ncphd.org or https://wascoshermangilliamcovid-19.com/)