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FAQ: Answering your COVID-19 vaccine questions

We answer some of the most common questions we have received about the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

KGW has received thousands of questions about the coronavirus vaccine rollout and we're here to answer them for you.

Q: When and where can I sign up for a vaccine appointment?

Here are all the places you can get a vaccine in Oregon and southwest Washington

Oregon: Oregonians age 65 and older are now eligible to sign up for a coronavirus vaccine appointment. You can learn how here

Online: OHA recently announced that those eligible to receive a vaccine in the Portland Metro Area, including Columbia County, will be contacted directly regarding when and where they can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Add your name to the vaccination update list and get notified when it's your turn here.

By phone: Seniors more comfortable with the phone can call 211 and asked to be transferred to the reservation call center. Operators will make sure you qualify, then assist you with the scheduling process. Both systems are expected to be very busy.

Your county public health website has the most up to date information on vaccine distribution in your area. 

Multnomah County 

Clackamas County

Washington County 

Marion County 

Local Pharmacies: Eligible Oregonians can reserve appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at local Safeway and Albertsons stores. Other local pharmacies offering vaccine appointments include: Fred Meyer & QFC, Bi-Mart, Costco, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart and Health Mart Pharmacies. 

Links to all pharmacy appointment portals can be found here

Washington: Those included in Phase 1a and Phase 1b Tier 1 (B1) are now eligible to be vaccinated in Washington state. 

Clark and Cowlitz Counties ask that you submit a request form through your county's public health website. If you live outside those counties, check for updates on your local public health website.

You can find more info on Clark County vaccine locations and appointments here.

CLARK COUNTY RESIDENTS: Fill out this webform to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine

Q: When am I eligible to receive the vaccine?

Oregon: The Oregon Health Authority has an online tool that allows users to chat with representatives that will help you figure out your vaccine eligibility.

Click on this link. Then use the chat icon on the bottom right corner of your screen.

Washington: Washington has rolled out an online tool that you can use to determine your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can use the PhaseFinder tool here.

You can find more information on Washington's PhaseFinder tool here.  

Q: I qualify for a vaccine, how do I get an appointment?

Everyone in Phase 1a — Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 — is currently eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Educators and seniors age 65 and older are also eligible to sign up for an appointment.

To make an appointment in the Portland metro area fill out the information requested here and you will be contacted directly to schedule an appointment. 

Seniors more comfortable with the phone can call 211 and asked to be transferred to the reservation call center. Operators will make sure you qualify, then book a time for you to get your vaccination. Both systems are expected to be very busy. 

COVID vaccine: Here's where to get it in Oregon and Washington

Groups that currently qualify under state guidelines can be found here.

There is a mass vaccination clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem that is open to all eligible Oregon residents. That site is run by Salem Health. Those currently eligible as part of state guidelines can sign-up for an appointment here.

Western Oregon University is also vaccinating Oregon residents who qualify. You can find more information here.

You are encouraged to check your county's website for information on how to apply for a vaccine. A full list can be found here.

Credit: Oregon Health Authority

Q: When are teachers eligible to receive the vaccine?

Portland metro: Portland's major health care systems started vaccinating teachers for COVID-19 at the Oregon Convention Center on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Those with direct in-person contact with students will be prioritized.

School districts informed Portland-area teachers how to sign up for their appointment starting the week of Jan. 25.  

Health systems will notify regional education service districts, which will notify districts when appointments are available. Districts will then notify each staffing group when it is their turn to make an appointment.   

Salem: Teachers and others connected to schools in the Salem-Keizer District started getting their shots at the mass vaccination clinic run by Salem Health on  Jan. 19. 

Q: When are seniors eligible to receive the vaccine?

Oregon seniors 65 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Oregon Health Authority has not provided any guidance as far as how seniors will sign up for the vaccine. Here is the current vaccination timeline, per OHA:

Week of February 7: Seniors 80 and over eligible 

Week of February 14: Seniors 75 and over eligible

Week of February 21: Seniors 70 and over eligible

Week of February 28: Seniors 65 and over eligible

Q: When will people younger than 65 with chronic illnesses be eligible to receive the vaccine?

Here is Oregon's new COVID vaccine eligibility timeline.

Oregonians 45 and older with underlying health conditions will be eligible starting March 29 and all state residents 18 and older will be eligible on May 1. You can find the full eligibility timeline here.

The following groups will become eligible no later than March 29, 2021:

  • Adults age 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions as defined by the CDC
  • Seasonally-impacted frontline workers, such as migrant seasonal farm workers, seafood and agricultural workers, and food processing workers 
  • Currently displaced victims of the September 2020 wildfires 
  • Wildland firefighters 
  • People living in low-income and congregate senior housing 
  • Individuals experiencing houselessness
  • Pregnant people 16 and over

The following groups will become eligible no later than April 19, 2021:

  • Frontline workers as defined by CDC 
  • Multigenerational household members
  • Adults 16-44 with one or more underlying health conditions with increased risk.

Here is the latest information we have.

Q: How many vaccine doses have been administered?

The Oregon Health Authority maintains a vaccine dashboard that shows how many doses have been administered, as well as, demographic information about those who have received them. The dashboard is updated daily. We'll continue to ask questions when the numbers don't add up. 

Q: What are the COVID vaccine side effects?

Doctors say you can expect some mild side effects from the coronavirus vaccine.

You might feel: extra tired, a headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, and even a fever. But that's your body building a defense against the virus.                                                             

The symptoms could last several days and are more likely after the second injection than the first. They might even be bad enough that you need to take a day or two off work. But it's important to remember, getting the virus unprotected could feel a whole lot worse.                                                               

Severe reactions have occurred, but researchers say they are not common. 

Q: Where can I find all of KGW's information on the COVID-19 vaccine?

To get the latest developments on the COVID-19 vaccine visit: kgw.com/vaccine or visit our YouTube Vaccine playlist.