When health workers in Oregon found themselves stranded on the highway in the snow on their way back from a COVID-19 vaccination event, they didn’t let the doses go to waste.
The vaccines are only good for six hours after opening, so with the doses set to expire — and a jackknifed tractor-trailer blocking the route to Grants Pass, where a handful of people awaited the remaining doses — the workers decided to offer to vaccinate other stranded drivers.
Right there on the highway, the health care workers administered six doses that would have expired to six lucky motorists.
“We had one individual who was so happy, he took his shirt off and jumped out of the car,” Michael Weber, the public health director in Josephine County, Oregon, told The New York Times.
“It was a strange conversation,” he said. “Imagine yourself stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm and having someone walk up and say, ‘Hey, would you like a shot in the arm?'” Weber said they told the motorists they had a doctor and even an ambulance team on hand.
Josephine County Public Health posted about the “impromptu vaccine clinic” on Facebook:
“When Josephine County Public Health staff and volunteers concluded their mass vaccination event at the Illinois Valley High School this afternoon, they never guessed they might be setting up an impromptu clinic on the way back to Grants Pass,” explained the post. “But that’s exactly what happened when a snowstorm stranded 20 personnel on Highway 199 nears Hayes Hill.”
The post went on to note that staff walked from car to car to offer people the vaccine, with an ambulance from AMR-Josephine County on hand for safety.
“In the end, all six doses were administered, including one to a Josephine County Sheriff’s Office employee who had arrived too late for IVHS clinic, but ended up stopped with the others on her way back to Grants Pass.”
How convenient is that!
In the past week, the state of Oregon has received 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Oregon is currently in Phase 1A of its vaccine distribution plan, which includes about 400,000 eligible citizens, including health workers, long-term care workers, caregivers and employees in other public health settings. Those who work in childcare, early learning or K-12 school settings became eligible for vaccinations as of Jan. 25. As of Feb. 8, Oregonians who are age 80 or older will be eligible.
Kudos to the quick-thinking Josephine County Public Health staff for making sure the vaccines did not go to waste!