More than 500 Baker County residents age 80 and older could be vaccinated for COVID-19 over the next week or so.
The Baker County Health Department plans to give the first of two doses to 300 people in that age range during a clinic Friday at Baker High School, said Nancy Staten, director of the Baker County Health Department. The pharmacies at the Baker City Safeway and Albertsons stores also expect to receive 100 doses each this week.
Those pharmacies will administer their doses based on the same Oregon eligibility guidelines that the Health Department is following. More information is available at www.albertsons.com/COVID-19 and www.safeway.com/COVID-19
And Staten said she heard that Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City plans to inoculate about 70 people on Thursday. That clinic is full, according to Laura Huggins, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
It’s not clear how many Baker County residents are 80 or older. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4,275 people in the county are 65 or older.
Based on the state’s current schedule, people 75 and older will be eligible starting Feb. 15, followed by those 70 and older on Feb. 22 and those 65 and older on March 1.
Staten said that although she hopes to inoculate as many people 80 and older as possible this week, that group will remain eligible, and the top priority, even after younger people are eligible.
Staten said she talks frequently with officials at the hospital and at the Pine Eagle Clinic in Halfway to ensure that if any has openings and available doses, that someone on a waiting list will be offered an appointment. She emphasized that wherever people get their first shot, they will get their second shot, either 21 or 28 days later, at the same place.
As of Monday, 1,147 Baker County residents had received their first dose, and 384 had both doses. The total of 1,531 residents is about 9.1% of the county’s population.