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Karla Toms, a RN with St. Charles, administers a vaccine in the arm of Suzi Smith of Bend on Jan. 20 at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond.

A federal program is enabling Mosaic Medical to offer COVID-19 vaccines to any patients 45 and older, and those who have been disproportionately affected by the virus, sooner than the state’s schedule.

The same program will become a steady pipeline of vaccines for the La Pine Community Health Center to be given to its elderly population still in need of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The pilot program has been selected for nearly a dozen federally qualified health centers in Oregon and allows for vaccines to be given to patients outside of the Oregon Health Authority’s schedule. As a federally qualified health center serving vulnerable populations, Mosaic Medical will allow for nearly three-fourths of its 27,000 patients to qualify for a vaccine, said Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, Mosaic Medical director of Strategy and Development.

“There are only two in the region in this federal program to give us direct dispersal in the next two weeks,” Knobbs-Seasholtz said. “Our mission is to serve all those who need health care in the community with special outreach to vulnerable populations.”

The pilot program is enabling the community to have yet another avenue for vaccines and doesn’t take away from other vaccine channels into the community, said Morgan Emerson, Deschutes County Health Services spokeswoman.

“This will help expedite our capacity to vaccinate residents,” Emerson said. “It doesn’t take away from other vaccine channels coming into Deschutes County.”

The county is among a group of counties with approval from Gov. Kate Brown to move beyond the state scheduling for vaccines to front-line workers and people 45 to 64 with qualifying health conditions.

As of last Wednesday, Deschutes County had vaccinated 80% of eligible residents age 65 and older, Emerson said. Anyone interested in receiving a vaccine should pre-register by going online at www.centraloregncovidvaccine.com or calling 541-699-5109 Monday to Friday.

Mosaic and La Pine are part of a federal pilot program designed to expand vaccination efforts to communities most disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The current guidelines to access the vaccine at Mosaic are:

• Mosaic patients age 45 or older;

• Mosaic patients eligible under Oregon Health Authority guidance (Phases 1a and 1b);

• Mosaic patients age 16 and older who meet at least one of the following conditions, homeless, a resident of public housing, a migrant/seasonal agricultural worker, having limited English proficiency or low-income as defined by federal guidelines;

• A Mosaic patient 45 years or older scheduling an appointment for a spouse/caregiver.

Reporter: 541-633-2117,

sroig@bendbulletin.com

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