Portland State hosted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic on May 12–13, following PSU President Stephen Percy’s announcement that the university will require the COVID-19 vaccine for fall term.
The clinic was held from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom both days. According to Emma Stocker, director of Emergency Management, there were 227 people registered on Wednesday and 205 people registered for Thursday.
In between the two days, the clinic saw an increase in registrations for May 13. “We saw a surge in registrations on Thursday after we announced that 12–15 year olds could come get their first shot,” Stocker stated in an email Thursday evening. Despite 38 no-shows Wednesday, the clinic was still able to surpass their goal of 500 administered doses.
Students, staff and faculty arriving for their vaccine appointment entered through Smith’s SW Broadway entrance and followed a one-way path up two flights of stairs to the ballroom. The clinic itself was organized into a check-in area, a waiting area, stations where vaccines were administered and an observation area. Exiting the clinic took another one way path down two flights of stairs and out the opposite end of the building.
“I pulled up, parked and everybody directed me through [the site],” said Claire Dunlep, a graduate student at PSU who received their vaccine Wednesday. “It was pretty streamlined.”
While PSU hosted the clinic site, the layout and organization was part of an Albertsons-Safeway program, according to Mark Bajorek, director of Health and Services at PSU. “The flow is really designed by Safeway,” Bajorek said.
For Bajorek, one of the clinic’s challenges was finding a demand for vaccines. According to AP News, “as the supply of coronavirus vaccine doses in the [United States] outpaces demand, some places around the country are finding there’s such little interest in the shots.”
“We’re trying to get people that are either delaying it or hesitant,” Bajorek said. “Just trying to make it as easy as possible for folks to get vaccines.”
Joshua Murray, a PSU employee, said having a PSU clinic available made it easier to get the vaccine. “[I’m] very thankful that PSU put this on and made it so available,” Murray said. “I was on the fence about the whole situation…I wanted to support the community and participate in the vaccine, making it possible to overcome this situation, but at the same time, I like to do my research and wanted to be 100% sure.”
“I’m stoked,” Murray said after receiving the vaccine. “I feel a little empowered inside, I feel like I did a good thing.”
University of Oregon held a vaccination clinic over multiple days in April at Autzen Stadium—second doses are being administered throughout May—while Oregon State University has vaccinated more than 19,400 people since late January, according to OSU.
PSU will host another clinic June 2–3 for students, staff and faculty to receive their second dose of the vaccine.