Sky Lakes Medical Center staff nurses and pharmacists today joined staff from Klamath County Public Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at select community long-term care facilities.

The joint Sky Lakes-Public Health team vaccinated residents and staff at facilities not enrolled in the nationwide Walgreens-CVS program to help protect those vulnerable populations. More than 50 people received vaccinations.

“This is truly a team effort to help people who are at increased risk,” said Jennifer Little, MPH, director of Klamath County Public Health. “We appreciate the partnership with Sky Lakes on this effort and in other community projects.”

Addressing the threat to those elderly residents and the staff who care for them contributes to the overall health of the community, said Sky Lakes President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Stewart.

“We get closer to ‘community immunity’ as more and more people are vaccinated” against the virus that causes COVID-19, he said. “This is another demonstration of our commitment to the health of the people in the communities we serve.”

Vaccinations for providers and staff at the Klamath Falls medical center began just before Christmas. Public Health vaccinations began earlier this week.

The cooperative vaccinations in the community follow the Oregon Health Authority guidelines under Phase 1-A. This first phase involves first responders, healthcare providers, and long-term care facilities.

As of Tuesday, the most recent statistics available, 1,488 people in Klamath County had received their first vaccine doses with none receiving the second dose. Statewide, there have been a total of 61,663 immunizations with 595 completing the two-dose series.

There is limited availability of vaccine throughout the nation. The Oregon Health Authority has not yet announced when the general population will receive the vaccine. Doses are allocated according to county populations.

Craig, a registered nurse at Sky Lakes, and Brian, a Sky Lakes pharmacist, prepare to vaccinate residents and staff at a Klamath Falls area long-term care facility on Thursday, Jan. 7.