The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) is pleased to announce that residents and staff at its Oregon Veterans’ Homes in Lebanon and The Dalles received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Consonus Healthcare over the weekend.
Vaccinations were made available to all staff and residents. The vaccine has been proclaimed safe and effective by scientists and health professionals, including a four-state scientific safety review group comprised of experts from Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada.
This vaccine is free to all who choose to take it, and Oregon has prioritized residents of long-term care facilities, as well as frontline health care workers, to receive it first.
Above images: Vaccination Clinic at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon
“‘Grateful’ is the word, as a long and difficult year draws to a close,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “We are grateful for the scientists and lab technicians who have made this vaccine possible in record time. We are grateful for our national, state and local partners who have brought doses to Oregon and ensured our honored residents and the incredible staff of the Oregon Veterans’ Homes are among the first to receive it.”
Despite this positive news, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses for full efficacy, and it will be months before enough of the population has received them to reach the safe threshold of community immunity.
The Homes will continue to follow strict infectious disease control protocol and conduct regular testing to ensure the safety of residents and staff. ODVA is also working with public health officials to determine ongoing visitation and admissions guidance as the state continues to distribute the vaccination to all Oregonians.
ODVA urges Oregonians to remain cautious and continue to diligently follow public health guidelines, including wearing masks, frequent hand washing, avoiding large gatherings and maintaining at least six feet of physical distance from those outside your household.
“Hope is here, but the darkest days of this pandemic may yet lie ahead,” Fitzpatrick warned. “Oregonians, including those in the communities surrounding our Veterans’ Homes, have made tremendous sacrifices this year to save lives, and we are grateful. We ask you to hold this historic line just a little longer, to help ensure the health and safety of our veterans and those most vulnerable among us.”