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Still having trouble finding a vaccine appointment in Oregon or Washington? Try these tips

KGW’s vaccine team hears from people every day that are still having trouble finding an appointment, citing website issues or appointments being taken too quickly.

PORTLAND, Ore — Starting Monday, April 19, everyone 16 years and older will be eligible for the COVID vaccine in Oregon.

People 16 and older are already eligible in Washington.

KGW’s vaccine team hears from people every day that are still having trouble finding an appointment, citing website issues or appointments being taken too quickly. We rounded up the best ways to secure your shot below. 

Sign up at “Get Vaccinated Oregon”

This is your first step in securing a COVID vaccine. It takes minutes to sign up, simply answer a few questions, and then you'll be notified of vaccine appointments near you. Those in the Portland metro area and Columbia County will likely go to the Oregon Convention Center for their vaccination.

Know when appointments are added

Knowing when appointments are released on each site is extremely important when trying to schedule a COVID vaccine.

OHSU Drive-up sites: (Portland International Airport, Hillsboro Stadium): Most weekday mornings at 9 a.m.

OHSU Clinics: Appointments for OHSU Clinics at Multnomah Pavilion, Richmond (SE Portland) and Scappoose are released on Thursday mornings at 9 a.m.

Salem Health sites: (State fairgrounds, Woodburn, Western Oregon University): Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon.

Safeway/Albertsons: New appointments added Thursdays at 5 p.m.

Fred Meyer: Updated daily according to store-by-store availability.

“At Fred Meyer, we are eager to continue providing COVID-19 vaccines to our customers and the communities that we serve. Each store updates their available appointment windows daily, so the time will vary by location. We will continue to add appointment windows based on the vaccines we receive via the government distribution program.”

CVS Health: Recommended: Right after 12 a.m. or first thing in the morning.

“Our approach to vaccine appointments is based on supply and demand, and availability can change quickly. Typically, new appointments are posted after midnight and when existing stores have new supply of vaccine in hand. When we expand to new stores in a state or jurisdiction, we will typically open first-time appointments around 6:00 am. It’s important to note that appointments can open-up at other times of the day due to cancellations, etc.“

Walgreens: “We’re not able to provide timing updates right now, but customers can sign up to receive alerts about available vaccine appointments here. Thank you for your time and consideration, and we will provide additional updates and information as they become available.”

Walmart: “We open up appointments on the Walmart and Sam’s site each day, and appointments are available on a rolling 7-day basis. So, today, you can schedule appointments for today – Sunday, April 18. Tomorrow, you’ll be able to schedule appointments for 4/13-4/20, and so on.”

Bi-Mart: “The only stores that have Pharmacies in the Portland area now is Forest Grove and McMinnville. When the pharmacies get Vaccine sent to them from the County or State then people can set up appointments. It can vary on when they get the vaccine, so it’s best to check the web site daily to see if they’re taking appointments.”

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

Other tips from the KGW vaccine team:

  • Once you’ve answered your eligibility questions on the OHSU portal, keep the scheduling link handy to paste in different browsers. If you become disconnected from the page use that same link so you don’t have to answer all the questions again.
  • Create an account before you sign up for an appointment, for example, a My Chart account before scheduling at the OHSU airport drive-through.
  • Keep trying! Refresh your page often.
  • Check your county’s public health page often! That’s where you’ll find info about community pop-up sites.
  • Try pharmacies outside your county.

Try crowdsourcing

Jeff McNamee, a project manager for a large health system in Portland, is one of the admins of the “Find a COVID shot Oregon” group on Facebook.

Credit: KGW

McNamee helps the nearly 9,000 people in the Facebook group try to find an appointment by answering questions directly or pointing people to an extensive Google document listing out all the ways to sign up for the COVID vaccine in Oregon and Washington.

“And when you collect information and put it into a simple document, a lot of times that reduces the anxiety and the mental load on somebody that's looking for an option,” said McNamee.

McNamee’s best tip to find the shot is to bookmark findashot.org.

“You type in your zip code and every four minutes it just refreshes. So, that’s your ticket to like a CVS or a Walgreens or a Fred Meyer or Rite Aid or whatever.”

He said to try a neighboring county if you’re having trouble securing one inside the Portland metro area.

“If you go a little bit outside, especially in Columbia County or Marion County, those are probably kind of a sweet spot for Portlanders. They seem like a long way away, but like Scappoose is only 20 miles from Hillsboro,” said McNamee.

The state fairgrounds in Salem also accepts walk-in appointments.

Try a universal vaccine stand-by site

There is also a universal vaccine stand-by list for providers across the country and in Oregon called Dr. B’s.

If a provider has extra doses or someone doesn’t show up for an appointment, the provider tells Dr. B and the site sends you a text message on where to go.

KGW’s vaccine team has not tested out the service, but the company’s founder said it’s free and it works.

“We have 150 sites across the U.S. We have seven vaccine sites in Oregon out of those 150 and then there are two locations in Portland right now. And I think at least two of those locations in Oregon are super sites,” said CEO Cyrus Massoumi.

Do you have a tip or trick to finding the COVID vaccine? Let us know. Email us at kgwvaccineteam@kgw.com