Benton, Linn, Lincoln Counties: COVID Vaccine Events

On Wednesday, Jan. 20 and on Thursday, Jan 21, Benton, Linn and Lincoln counties, in coordination with Samaritan Health Services, are organizing vaccination events. The citizens of those counties will have a chance to receive the first of two required COVID-19 injections by appointment, on condition of it is availability. 

In this round, only individuals from groups 1-4 of Oregon Health Authority’s Phase 1a are currently eligible for vaccination. Benton County is prioritizing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their care takers for these events, per a statement from Suzanne Hoffman, Benton County Health Department Director. Mobile vaccinations have been planned for those who cannot attend. 

As of now, Benton County, Samaritan Health Services, and Oregon State University are planning an additional vaccination event at the Reiser Stadium the week of January 25, pending the availability of vaccine doses. The details will be confirmed later by Benton County officials. 

Phase 1b vaccination will take place upon completion of the Phase 1a. However, the OHA has not identified the groups included in 1b. The dates for Oregon to receive more doses for the second round have not been specified. 

The second round of vaccines, should be given at a specific interval following the first: three weeks later in the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and four weeks later in the case of the Moderna vaccine. Shortages and delays in receiving vaccine shipments have led to concerns about what happens if the second dose is not available in time.  

Timothy Heider, spokesman for OHA, recommends the second dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines as close to the prescribed interval as possible. “However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine,” he added, pointing out that in the case of established vaccines, a booster shot can be “quite effective” even if a vaccine series is delayed or interrupted. 

Because the COVID-19 vaccine is different from other commonly-used ones, relying on World Health Organization recommendations for other vaccines, as suggested by OHA, may have little value. In short, there are no tested guidelines for the maximum time elapsed between both doses. We are learning as we go. 

Also, even if you receive a vaccine or even a second vaccine, continue to wear masks when you’re out in public, wash your hands frequently, and keep at least six feet from others. 

For more information about these vaccination events, please go to the Benton County website. 

By: Joanna Rosińska