April 16, 2021

$1.1 million grant will increase vaccinations in Oregon

Funding from Kaiser Permanente will support 11 local health centers that serve communities of color.

Contact: Debbie Karman

PORTLAND, Ore. — Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest is partnering with the Oregon Primary Care Association on an initiative to increase vaccination rates among underserved and communities of color in Oregon.

OPCA, a nonprofit membership association of Oregon’s 34 Federally Qualified Health Centers, also known as community health centers, will oversee the distribution of $1.1 million in funding from Kaiser Permanente to 11 CHCs throughout the region.

Oregon’s community health centers provide integrated medical, dental, and behavioral health services to over 466,000 Oregonians at over 270 sites across the state. As trusted partners in their communities, these clinics are well positioned to address equitable vaccination administration but need support to ramp up capacity quickly.  

Equitably vaccinating our community

“As we work toward equitably vaccinating our community, health centers like Central City Concern and Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center play a critical role,” said Wendy Watson, chief operating officer for Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest. “We’ve made great progress toward reaching population immunity through the All4Oregon mass vaccination site at the Oregon Convention Center, which has administered over 325,000 vaccinations, but we know more needs to be done to reach our underserved neighbors and communities of color.”

The grant dollars will be applied toward a range of needs, including:

  • Hiring temporary staff to manage vaccination sites
  • Transporting patients to vaccination appointments
  • Providing community health workers to do outreach and help people navigate ever-changing guidelines, vaccine appointments, and locations
  • Providing language access resources for vaccination sites
  • Investing in infrastructure, including personal protective equipment, storage, and supplies
  • Launching mobile vaccine clinics
  • Partnering with other community-based organizations that serve hard-to-reach populations

“As trusted community providers, Oregon’s community health centers are dedicated to equitably vaccinating patients and those in their community against COVID-19 as part of their ongoing effort to further reduce health disparities laid bare by COVID-19. CHCs, which deliver quality primary care to medically underserved and disproportionately affected populations, are uniquely positioned to assist in vaccinating Oregon’s vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities, including people experiencing homelessness and poverty; Black, Indigenous, and people of color; agricultural and migrant farmworkers; and people living in rural and frontier communities,” said Joan Watson-Patko, executive director of the Oregon Primary Care Association.

“Funding from Kaiser Permanente allows health centers to build vaccination administration capacity and reach farther into their communities to deliver vaccinations to individuals at highest risk for COVID-19.”

Participating community health centers

Multnomah County

  • Multnomah County Community Health Centers
  • Central City Concern
  • Outside In (also serves Clackamas County)
  • Prism Health
  • Wallace

Clackamas, Washington, and Yamhill counties

  • Neighborhood Health Centers (Clackamas and Washington)
  • Clackamas County Health Centers
  • Neighborhood Health Centers (Clackamas and Washington)
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center (Washington and Yamhill)

Marion County

  • Northwest Human Services

Lane County

  • White Bird Clinic
  • Community Health Centers of Lane County

About OPCA

OPCA is a non-profit membership association of Oregon’s 34 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), including two FQHC Look-Alikes. FQHCs are also known as community health centers (CHCs). The organization’s mission is to lead the transformation of primary care to achieve health equity for all.

OPCA believes all people, in Oregon and beyond, should have the chance to lead their healthiest lives and have access to equitable health care. Oregon Primary Care Association supports a network of community health centers that deliver exceptional health care to people in urban, rural and frontier communities who may otherwise not have access to services. By helping health centers apply innovative approaches to health care delivery and system challenges, OPCA is transforming primary care in Oregon and beyond. Follow us on Twitter @OregonPCA or on Facebook.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.