Umatilla County Public Health announced on Wednesday, March 31, that Oregon Health Authority gave the county approval to start vaccinating people in Phase 1B Group 7 effective immediately.

Morrow County was also approved to move ahead immediately, according to a news release from Gov. Kate Brown.

The new phase includes all essential frontline workers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone over the age of 16 with underlying condition considered at higher risk from COVID-19, and people in multigenerational households.

The CDC’s list of frontline workers includes employees whose work requires regular contact with the public or coworkers for a prolonged period of time or within 6 feet, who are working in essential industries, such as food service, energy, construction, news media, manufacturing, law and banking.

The list of qualifying underlying health conditions includes cancer, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, dementia, diabetes, Down syndrome, heart conditions, HIV, immunocompromised state, liver disease, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, solid organ or blood stem cell transplant, stroke, and substance abuse disorders.

Multigenerational households are defined as households with at least three generations living together, or individuals residing with and caring for a relative who is not their own child, such as a grandparent raising their grandchild.

The current date set for those groups to become eligible statewide is Monday, April 5, followed by all Oregonians becoming eligible by May 1. But the state has been allowing some counties to move ahead on their schedule if they can show that they have been able to “largely complete” vaccinations for the previous group.

Umatilla County moving ahead early means people in the new categories are eligible to schedule appointments with local pharmacies or doctors offices now, or to participate in clinics scheduled for this week.

Family Health Associates is holding a clinic at Umatilla High School on Friday, April 2, from 3-7 p.m. No appointment needed.

Umatilla County Public Health is holding clinics in Pendleton on April 1-2, with appointments scheduled ahead of time through bit.ly/ucohealthcovidvaccine.

Good Shepherd Health Care System has doses available on Thursday, April 1 from 7-11 a.m. and noon to 5 p.m. in the conference rooms off Entrance C at the Good Shepherd campus at 610 NW 11th St. No appointment needed.

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