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People living in adult foster care homes in Oregon are finally getting the COVID vaccine

Thousands of vulnerable people in the 1A category who felt left out of the state's vaccination plan are finally getting the shot brought to them.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Thousands of vulnerable people in Oregon waiting for the COVID vaccine are now getting it through mobile clinics.

KGW has been reporting on the frustration many owners of adult foster care homes have faced when they tried to get their residents the vaccine.

“They deserve to be, you know, getting it now rather than later,” said Gina Roberts, owner of A Place to Call Home in Tigard, Oregon.

Roberts was scheduled to get the vaccine to her facility through CVS on Feb. 10. After receiving several emails from the pharmacy chain, she said they canceled the clinic at her home.

CVS did not give a clear answer on why it dropped Roberts' facility from the vaccination schedule.

Roberts then tried to get the vaccine to her residents through a mobile clinic for weeks.

“I love these people, so I have to do what I can to protect them,” said Roberts.

Monday, her efforts paid off as Jamie McDaniel, an occupational health officer with American Medical Response (AMR), showed up to vaccinate Roberts' healthcare workers and residents.

AMR is subcontracted by the Oregon Health Authority to provide the vaccine to adult foster care homes and other facilities throughout the state.

“I saw the news article from last week and I was so happy to come here today and give it to them. We're getting to them as quickly as we can,” said McDaniel about getting the other adult foster care homes vaccinated.

Residents like 95-year-old Ray Hare, a World War II veteran, felt relieved for the first time in months.

"Well, I feel a heck of a lot better than I did a few weeks ago," said Hare. 

McDaniel said her teams are running between 10-15 missions a day resulting in up to 100 vaccines.

"I enjoy coming into these facilities. These people are so excited to see us. I feel like there is hope like we have a future. There's something to look forward to," said McDaniel. 

The Oregon Department of Human Services provided an update on getting the vaccine to all adult foster care homes via email:

As of today, 492 adult foster homes have received a vaccine opportunity with 1,203 vaccines given. This data refers only to adult foster homes licensed by the ODHS office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD).

ODHS and OHA recently were able to expand support for these homes with a variety of solutions that continue to evolve, including:

• Secured AMR (American Medical Response) to support on-site vaccines for some adult foster homes in Washington county and allocated 3,100 vaccines for adult foster homes in the area; Washington county has a high concentration of APD adult foster homes. 

• Allocated 4,800 additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines for adult foster homes in baker, Clackamas, Douglas, and Multnomah counties. These areas either have a high concentration of adult foster homes or implementation challenges.

• As additional vaccine becomes available, the expectation is that roughly 3,000 to 3,600 doses a week will be allocated for adult foster homes and a prioritized group of high-risk ODHS in-home service consumers.

• Finally, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just coming online, and it will improve the ability to vaccinate individuals that are hard to reach areas, such as rural/frontier counties, as well as non-ambulatory people individuals.

Do you have a vaccine-related story idea for Cristin? Email her at CallCristin@kgw.com