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’So the world can get better’

Vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital pharmacy. AP File photo
Vaccine clinic to be held at First Presbyterian Church in Ashland May 1

ASHLAND — A COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people 18 and older will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m May 1 at First Presbyterian Church of Ashland.

Identification is required to obtain a vaccine. The church will offer vaccines supplied by Wellness 2000 — both the Moderna two-dose vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine if it is approved at the time of the clinic, said the Rev. Dan Fowler.

Wellness 2000 is a corporate wellness and employee assistance organization run by CEO and founder Bea Berry, a member of the church. The organization was approved by the Oregon Health Authority as a vaccine provider in January, Berry said.

Clinic appointments can be made by calling 541-482-3536 between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clinic will be held at 1615 Clark Ave.

As of Monday, 35 people had made appointments and hundreds of slots were still available. Fowler said he aims to see someone vaccinated every five to 10 minutes at the clinic, which will be staffed by church volunteers.

“Part of the reason I wanted to do this is to show that there are churches that care about people getting vaccinated and people getting well,” Fowler said. “We wear our masks, and we believe that vaccinations are important, and so this is our way of saying, ‘We want to be good neighbors and help people who don’t have the vaccine get the vaccine, so they can be well and the world can get better.”

Fowler said another clinic will be scheduled roughly four weeks from Saturday for those who choose the Moderna vaccine and require a second shot for complete vaccination.

Last week, Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames warned that an increase in cases throws the county into a race to vaccinate as many people as possible before COVID-19 variants become widespread. All authorized vaccines offer a “good level” of protection against the variant B.1.1.7, Shames said.

“Our goal is that the vaccine be available to everyone, so if there are other events and providers giving the vaccine, then more people will hopefully get vaccinated,” said Tanya Phillips, health promotion manager with Jackson County Public Health.

On April 24, the Western States Scientific Safety Review workgroup recommended that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration resume for adults, after reviewing an FDA decision to lift a pause on the vaccine and add a warning about potential rare blood clots in women 50 and younger.

The pause began April 13 in response to six cases of severe blood clots in women who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The workgroup applauded the FDA for a “thorough and transparent assessment” of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, including consideration of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome.