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Educators now the focus of mass vaccination effort at Oregon Convention Center

Four of Portland's major health care systems expect to have more than 25,000 school employees vaccinated by the end of next week.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Educators lined up at the Oregon Convention Center's mass vaccination site on Wednesday to get their first dose of protection against the coronavirus.

"It's really exciting to be able to get a vaccine. And to know we are going to be able to support our students going back to school in a safe manner," said Carey Montgomery, an employee with the Lake Oswego School District.

Health officials said 3,200 school employees from Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties had appointments to get vaccinated Wednesday. That's over 350 inoculations an hour.

“It is going extremely well. Everything is scheduled, so all those educators have an appointment with us,” said Trent Green, COO of Legacy Health.

Legacy, Providence, Kaiser Permanente and OHSU are giving shots at the mass vaccination site.

On Monday and Tuesday, the health care providers administered 4,000 vaccine doses to those in the phase 1A eligibility group. Now, they plan to vaccinate 12,000 educators to finish out the week. 

RELATED: Gov. Brown sending Portland metro counties more COVID-19 vaccine doses next week

Next week, they expect to vaccinate 15,000 more educators. They will also administer an undetermined amount of the 17,000 doses Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says will also be available in the Portland metro area for health care workers and others in the 1A category.

“We want to vaccinate as many Oregonians as quickly as possible; we have built a model here that we can scale. We just need vaccine to do it,” said Green.

Green hopes new efforts at the federal level will help get more vaccine doses to Oregon and, in turn, will make opening up classrooms safer.

"We will hopefully have students coming back at some point. So, whenever that happens, I'll feel a lot better," said Beaverton School District employee Aran Redding, who got her first dose Wednesday.

Meanwhile in Southwest Washington, mass vaccinations are in day two at the Clark County Fairgrounds. 

On Tuesday, 629 people go their first dose of Pfizer vaccine at that site. The state plans to deliver 3,000 doses at the site by the end of the day Friday. Appointments are required.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plans to visit the fairgrounds vaccination site on Thursday morning along with the state’s secretary of health, Dr. Umair Shah.

RELATED: Reopening Oregon schools: What your district's return plan looks like