‘Our systems were not designed to handle this volume … We appreciate everyone’s patience’
BEND, Pray. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County and St. Charles Health System said Monday they plan to open scheduling for vaccine appointments Tuesday morning, but acknowledged that their online and phone systems are already failing under pressure.
The Oregon Health Authority has assigned 2,340 first-dose COVID-19 vaccines to Deschutes County for this week, 800 fewer than last week, when all appointment spaces were booked within two hours. Following state guidance, adults 65 and older will now be eligible to schedule appointments.
Starting Tuesday at 9 a.m., adults 65 and older can schedule an appointment for vaccinations:
- Online: The easiest and fastest way to sign up for an appointment is to schedule it online at www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com.
- If you are having difficulty registering online, please watch this video, which describes the online appointment registration process.
- By phone: If you don’t have access to a computer or don’t have someone who can help you sign up for an appointment online, call 541-699-5109. Staff are available from 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week. Be prepared to wait on hold or call back, as this line is experiencing a high volume of calls.
“As is constantly happening across the country, our vaccine supply is not sufficient to meet demand here in central Oregon, and our website and call center have been overwhelmed by the high volume of interest,” he said. Jeremiah Brickhouse, director of information for the St. Charles Health System.
“Our systems were not designed to handle this volume, but we are actively working to address the issues. We cannot guarantee that the updates we have made so far will be sufficient to handle the volume next week, but please note that we will continue to work on improvements in the future. We appreciate everyone’s patience. “
Nearly 40,000 Deschutes County residents 65 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine. To date, an estimated 15,000 residents 65 and older have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine.
If weekly allowances do not increase, Deschutes County Health Services estimates that it may take until early May to be able to offer a first dose appointment to all residents 65 and older.
“Unfortunately, due to the limited supply of vaccines, not everyone eligible to receive a vaccine will be able to schedule an appointment this week,” said Dr. George Conway, Deschutes County Health Services Director. “With current assignments, it may take several weeks before everyone who is eligible can be scheduled.”
Governor Brown has announced the next phases of vaccine sequencing. Phase 1B, Group 6 will include adults ages 45-64 with one or more underlying health conditions at increased risk, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, agricultural and seafood workers, food processing workers, and people living in housing for low-income seniors, congregated and independent seniors living. This group will be eligible to receive the vaccine as of March 29.
Federal Retail Pharmacy Program
Some retail pharmacies in central Oregon are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible groups through the federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. There will not be enough vaccines to vaccinate all eligible Oregonians at these locations due to limited supply. Appointments can be made available by visiting https://vaccinefinder.org.
As of March 1, eligible groups include:
To determine if you are eligible for a vaccine, visit get vaccinated.oregon.gov.
Central Oregonians in Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson Counties can sign up here to be notified when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Central Oregon