Photo credit: Oregon National Guard

January 14, 2021 3:40 a.m.

Oregon National Guardsman joined Salem Health at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem on Tuesday, to assist them in their efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccinations to Oregonians.

A release from the Oregon Military Department said more than 40 medical personnel initially activated to directly support Salem Health operations.

The release said just over a week ago, Salem Health set up their distribution plan and began administering vaccinations to the public. Since January 7th, over 8,500 vaccinations have been administered. With the help of the National Guard on Tuesday, the site reached over 10,000 vaccinations.

The release said after realizing their site would be unable to vaccinate enough people under the current system, Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics, President and CEO Cheryl Nester Wolfe, initiated the plan to establish a separate vaccination distribution site. That led to the first COVID-19 vaccination distribution site of its kind in the state of Oregon.

Wolfe said the State Fairgrounds site is the only mass vaccination clinic that has been set up. She said in Marion County alone, there are around 50,000 people to vaccinate.

Organizers expect to have the site in operation for up to six months.

Guardsman are helping with giving vaccinations, helping with security, parking and other tasks.

The release said since March of last year, Oregon National Guardsmen have been activated to support the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response, distribute PPE throughout Oregon, assist with the largest wildfire season on record, and protect lives and property during civil disturbances.