Vaccine Voices: Eric Schuman

Eric Schuman is a retired physician assistant in Marion County who volunteers as an animal-assisted therapist. Pre-pandemic, he and his dogs Sophie and Riki were splitting their time serving people at Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Willamette Valley Hospice and Oregon State Hospital. In January, he shared his vaccination story with OHA:

“My two Golden Retriever therapy dogs and I are very busy, usually working two or three days a week,” Schuman. “In March, we were all suddenly unemployed.” 

While he’s been eager to get back to his work, he understands that he’s in a high-risk group for COVID-19 infection and that means taking extra precautions. That’s why when he got contacted by the coordinator at Willamette Valley Hospice about his eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, he jumped at the opportunity. 

“That was at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, and it opened at 8 o’clock this morning,” said Schuman. “I was there at 8 a.m. on the dot.” 

Despite his early arrival, Schuman says there were still probably 100 people ahead of him in line. It didn’t matter though. 

“It was like clockwork,” said Schuman. “Everything went quickly and smoothly.”  After about 20 minutes of waiting, Schuman received his first dose and, while he has the “tiniest awareness” of a little soreness in the arm he received his vaccination in, his whole experience getting vaccinated was wonderful.  

“Once the state hospital makes their decision that volunteers can come back if they’re vaccinated, I’ll be there,” said Schuman. 

For details about the Marion County clinics, visit Salem Health’s website . Updates are also available at Salem Health’s Facebook page.

Eric Schuman with two dogs

This article first appeared in the Jan. 8, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.