As of April 5, Oregon frontline workers — including grocery and restaurant workers — are eligible for the vaccine, which means they can start scheduling appointments via one of the state’s hospitals, pharmacies, or state-run vaccine hubs. As the state loosens its restrictions on restaurant capacity and cases increase throughout Oregon, it’s extremely important that restaurant workers get their vaccine appointments scheduled. However, it remains difficult to actually nab an appointment: The Oregon Health and Science University’s scheduling site for the airport vaccine location froze up the morning of April 5, as 11,000 users tried to book appointments at 9:01 a.m.
The good news: There are a number of different avenues to actually find an appointment. Here, you’ll find a guide to the various ways to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, what you’ll need going in, and what to expect afterward. For more information about vaccinations in Oregon, go to the state’s vaccine information hub.
What to Know Going In
• There are three separate vaccinations available statewide: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer and Moderna are two-dose vaccinations, while Johnson & Johnson only requires one shot. If you receive a two-dose vaccination, your vaccine site will either schedule your second dose for you or tell you how to schedule a second dose, and give you a vaccination card; do not lose this card. You should get the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days after the first dose, or 28 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
• All of the vaccines are free to the public.
• The people who live with frontline workers are also eligible for the vaccine as of April 5, so feel free to loop in the roommates.
• In general, it’s best to try to schedule a vaccine in the morning, when a new batch of vaccination appointments go live.
• Some vaccinated Oregonians may experience side effects like fatigue, fever, chills, or nausea; if possible, it’s best to schedule the day off on or immediately after the day you get your vaccine to rest, especially after the second dose. If you’ve had COVID-19, you may experience more side effects after your first dose.
• Immunity doesn’t kick in immediately after you receive your vaccine; you’ll need to wait two weeks afterward to develop full immunity. Even then, you will still need to follow state safety guidelines, including mask-wearing in public places and social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves after the two-week waiting period, as long as they’re wearing masks; however, the CDC still isn’t recommending travel, because of the increase of cases nationwide.
• The vaccine isn’t a free pass to do whatever you want. The CDC is still investigating how well the vaccine protects against COVID-19 variants, and we have yet to reach herd immunity. For more information about dining indoors after the vaccine, check out the Eater guide.
Where to Schedule an Appointment
OHSU Vaccine Centers
The basics: Oregon Health and Science University is operating a number of different vaccination locations around the city and suburbs. The PDX airport and Hillsboro Stadium sites are drive-thru locations, while the OHSU Primary Care Clinic in Scappoose, OHSU Multnomah Pavilion, and the Oregon Convention Center sites are indoor locations.
How to schedule: OHSU uses an online tool for scheduling appointments at its vaccine locations. It releases new batches of appointments at 9 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; appointments at the airport location are available each of those days, though some locations only offer up slots on certain days (Scappoose appointments are released on Thursdays, while Oregonians can schedule appointments at Multnomah Pavilion on Tuesdays).
More information: OHSU’s vaccine information page.
The basics: Walgreens offers vaccines at its locations throughout Portland via an online portal. There are more than a dozen Walgreens locations scattered across the city, so for those unwilling to travel too far out of their neighborhood, Walgreens is a good bet. The online scheduling portal requires users to set up a Walgreens account and go through a screening process to make sure they meet state guidelines. The Independent Restaurant Alliance of Oregon says that Walgreens seems to release new vaccine appointments at 5 a.m. daily, so early risers can check this portal then.
How to schedule: Go to the online portal and go through the eligibility screening process. Search for your city (Portland), and the vaccine portal will check for appointments within 25 miles of Portland within the next five days.
More information: Walgreens vaccine appointment portal.
The basics: The Northwestern superstore chain is offering vaccination appointments at its pharmacy locations.
How to schedule: Go through the eligibility questions for Fred Meyer, and then the system will allow you to search for appointments within a determinable radius of your zip code.
More information: Fred Meyer’s vaccination FAQ page.
Safeway and Albertsons
The basics: These two grocery chains offer vaccinations through their pharmacies via a shared portal. There are about 15 locations in Portland city limits, though vaccinations are limited at each.
How to schedule: Enter your zip code into the search portal, and the list of results will let you know if there are any vaccination appointments available at that given location. From there, an AI will help you set up an appointment.
More information: Safeway’s vaccine information portal.
The basics: The pharmacy chain Rite Aid offers vaccinations at its Portland locations, though they are in limited supply compared to others.
How to schedule: Enter your birthdate, occupation, underlying conditions, and location into an online portal, and the site will let you know if there are any vaccination slots available.
More information: Rite Aid vaccine scheduler.
The basics: Walmart pharmacies around the Portland area offer vaccinations; there are about 11 vaccination locations within 10 miles of Portland, so this is another option for those looking for something in the neighborhood.
How to schedule: Walmart’s scheduling site is a little more difficult to maneuver; like Walgreens, Walmart requires users to set up an account and confirm eligibility, but the site sends you back through that eligibility screening form each time you choose a location; that means that if there aren’t any appointments at the SE 82nd location, you’ll have to go back to the search form and find a new location, go through the screening form, and click through to discover whether there are appointments within the next five days at the North Portland location.
More information: Walmart vaccination information.
The basics: CVS locations around Oregon are offering COVID-19 vaccines, depending on availability.
How to schedule: CVS’s online portal allows you to click on your state and will automatically search to see if there are any appointments available in your given location. If there are vaccine appointments available, click on the “schedule” option, and go through the screening questions. You’ll schedule second doses this way, as well.
More information: CVS vaccine appointment portal.
The basics: This Northwestern chain of discount stores only operates around 10 locations in greater Portland, and not all of those locations have the ability to vaccinate. As of April 5, McMinnville and Forest Grove locations were the locations closest to Portland vaccinating Oregonians. Bi-Mart is offering Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
How to schedule: Go to the scheduling hub, click on the “Oregon” tab and follow the instructions to schedule a vaccine.
More information: Bi-Mart vaccine hub.
The basics: The Portland Costco location is offering vaccinations to members via its pharmacy. That pharmacy is generally offering Moderna vaccines right now.
How to schedule: Go to the online portal, click on the Portland location, and follow the instructions. The city-specific scheduling site will not load then if there are no appointments available.
More information: Costco’s vaccine portal.
Salem Health Fairgrounds Vaccination Center
The basics: For those with cars or the general ability to get to Salem, the Salem Health vaccination center at the state fairgrounds is an option — even for those in Multnomah County. Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen has said that there are no firm rules that prevent people from traveling from one county to another to get vaccinated, and some Portlanders have reported that it has been easier to schedule appointments in Marion County. Currently, the fairgrounds vaccination site is offering Pfizer vaccines.
How to schedule: Visit the Salem Health MyChart page to confirm that you are eligible, choose the location you’d like to visit (there are also clinics in Woodburn and Monmouth), and schedule an appointment.
More information: Salem Health COVID-19 vaccination information.
There are no appointments available. Now what do I do?
Don’t worry; sometimes it takes a few tries to get a vaccine appointment. The Oregon Health Authority’s Get Vaccinated tool will send you notifications on how to get an appointment as appointments become available, and will let you know about vaccination events in Portland. Definitely continue to try to find vaccination appointments via the sites above, especially in the mornings. If you have questions, email ORCOVID@211info.org.