Where Are We At With Mandatory Vaccines for Healthcare Workers?

On July 26, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that they would be requiring staff at VA hospitals to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Gov. Kate Brown announced on August 4 that all healthcare workers in Oregon would be required to get weekly COVID-19 tests unless they showed proof of vaccination as of October 18.   

On Aug. 18, the Biden Administration announced that all long-term care workers serving people with Medicare and Medicaid would also be required to get vaccinated.   

Data taken from mid-August puts Benton County healthcare workers at 85% vaccinated. However, those are averages from the whole county. Advocate staffers spoke to the three major healthcare facilities and a number of senior centers in and around Corvallis to see what their vaccination rate actually was.  

Samaritan Health told reporters that their staff was 80% vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes their facilities in Benton, Linn, and Lincoln counties. The Corvallis Clinic was also at an 80% staff vaccination rate. Corvallis Family Medicine is at 90%.  

Prior to Brown’s announcement, none of these healthcare organizations were able to mandate vaccinations.   

Reporters surveyed about half of the senior centers listed on the Corvallis Clinic’s site. As of August 18, all of these centers are now required to vaccinate their staff. 

  • Alterra Villas At Courtyard — 52% vaccination rate, vaccines required pre-Aug. 18; 
  • Mennonite Home Retirement Village — 60% vaccination rate for staff. Resident rate varies based on which area they are in with an average overall of about 93%, although in one section of residents the number of those vaccinated was unknown; 
  • The Oaks at Lebanon — 40% staff vaccination rate, 90% resident vaccination rate 
  • Century Fields ALF/Meadowlark — ‘most’ of their staff was vaccinated; 
  • Conifer House — 80% staff vaccination rate, 95% resident vaccination rate; 
  • Corvallis Caring Place ALF — 86% staff vaccination rate, 100% resident vaccination rate; 
  • Quail Run ALF — 50% staff vaccination rate, 95% resident vaccination rate; 
  • Regency Park Place (Private ALF) — 70% staff vaccination rate, 98% resident vaccination rate; 
  • Stoneybrook ALF — staff rate unknown, but masks and shields are worn, 100% resident vaccination rate; 
  • The Oaks at Lebanon ALF — staff vaccination rate unknown, 88% resident vaccination rate. As of Sept. 30, monthly testing will be required; 
  • Timberview Care Center — staff rate unknown, 80% resident vaccination rate; 
  • West Hills ALF — 94% staff vaccination rate, 98% resident vaccination rate; 
  • Wiley Creek Community ALF — 30% staff vaccination. Only two unvaccinated residents out of 26; 
  • Willamette Manor ALF — no stats recorded for staff or residents.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”  

Our young children and those with severe illnesses cannot be vaccinated. Hopefully, Brown and President Biden’s announcements will improve the vaccination rate among senior centers and hospitals.  

By Jalen Todd