Some folks can go to work, get vaccinated

Now that everyone 16 and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some employers are rolling up their sleeves and offering vaccinations at work.

In Hood River, One Community Health is participating in a pilot program with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) to vaccinate communities that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting.

The need to reach folks who work in agriculture, especially those who migrate during the harvest season presented an opportunity to work with Duckwall Fruit, a local orchardist. Duckwall Fruit made their warehouse space available to vaccinate their employees, local growers and other migrant seasonal farmworkers (MSFW). Pictured at left, workers in Hood River after getting vaccinated.

Josefina Luna, an operations analyst for One Community Health, said, “As of April 5, we have vaccinated more than 3,800 people, nearly half of them identified as Hispanic/Latino and two-thirds of those identified as MSFWs. One Community Health will continue working with local packing houses and growers to vaccinate vaccinate incoming migrant farm workers as the harvest season approaches.”

Another business offering workplace vaccinations is Amy’s Kitchen near Medford. Amy’s Kitchen is a California-based maker of organic prepared foods and employs about 900 people in Jackson County. The company teamed up with Vera Whole Health to set up a vaccine clinic at the company’s onsite health center, pictured below.

Because employees had lots of questions, Plant Manager George Pelch said the company is doing all it can to share vaccine facts. An information board and fact sheets were set up and distributed in the plant. Pelch said, “We hope as many people as possible will get vaccinated. We are also opening up vaccine appointments to employees and their families because our workers and their families are part of the Amy’s Kitchen family and we want them all to be safe.”

Folks in the Portland Metro Area can visit the mass vaccination clinic at the Portland International Airport’s Red Economy Parking Lot to get their shots.

The PDX site, at left, came together following a conversation between executives from The Port of Portland and Oregon Health & Sciences University and was initially open to people most at risk of getting COVID-19, like older adults and people with underlying health conditions. Now that everyone 16 and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, anyone with an appointment can get their shot at this drive-through clinic. Port of Portland spokesperson Kama Simonds said, “We have appreciated the partnership with OHSU for such an important community benefit. And, it couldn’t be more convenient for people who work at PDX to be able to receive their vaccine so close to where they work.”  

Check with your employer to see if they can offer an onsite vaccine clinic. Employers can use this toolkit as a guide to help their employees get vaccinations. Not all employers will be able to offer this service. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) encourages you to create an account at Get Vaccinated Oregon, or check OHA’s How to Find a COVID Vaccine to learn where you can get vaccinated. 

This article first appeared in the April 27, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.