Vaccine Voices: ‘I’m 16 and excited to have a social life again’; Celebrate Mother’s Day safely this year

Ella Pulscak recently turned 16. Soon afterwards she got her first dose of vaccine at a pharmacy in Gresham. Our conversation was edited for clarity and length.

How was the experience?

“It went really fast. They just made sure I knew what shot I was getting and told me about potential side effects. I’ve never freaked out much about needles. Obviously, I’m not like,” Yay! A shot!” But this time I was just more excited about getting the vaccine than anything else. 

Why did you choose to get vaccinated? 

Everyone in my family had already gotten at least their first dose and I felt like it was the right thing to do to keep both myself and my family safe from this virus. I also think that vaccination is the way for the world to become closer to normal eventually, hopefully, again. So I just felt like it was the best possible next step to take. I was eligible for it and I wanted to take advantage of that. 

What are you looking forward to once you’re fully vaccinated? 

I’m excited to see all my friends again. I’ve been able to see them here and there, distanced, masked, outside, and all that. But I’m excited to have a social life again, to go out hiking and adventuring.  

As a high school student, I feel like I’ve missed out on a couple of experiences already. My school has opened up a hybrid but it’s just not the same.

I’m looking forward to being able to have full days of school again, see my friends in the building, and have one-on-one relationships with teachers. 

I think vaccination is the next step and I’m excited to see where it takes us.

Celebrate mothers in the safest way this year

Mother’s Day is a special time. Since this is the second Mother’s Day during the COVID-19 pandemic we may be remembering what it was like to celebrate last year. We were just starting to learn about how to keep each other and ourselves safe from getting COVID-19. This year’s celebration may feel more hopeful since we now have vaccines that protect against severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.

It’s still important to consider the risk of gathering to celebrate this year.

If everyone who is gathering is fully vaccinated (that’s two weeks after a second dose in a 2-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine), then you may choose to gather inside in a private space to celebrate your mama.  

If you gather anywhere else, or with unvaccinated people from more than one home, you’ll need to continue to take precautions – wear a mask, maintain your physical distance and keep your gathering small and outdoors.

If you don’t live together, the safest way to connect with your mom is over the phone or the internet. Even though you may want to see your mom, it’s worth missing seeing her in person if it helps to keep her safe from this virus.

Here are some ideas about how you can celebrate your mother safely.

  • Have a meal, food basket or flowers delivered to your mother’s home.
  • If she lives near you, cook her a meal and drop it off outside her door.
  • Go for a walk together outdoors with masks and physical distance.
  • Order a good book, puzzle or craft activity for her.
  • Make time to have a long, uninterrupted phone call with her.
  • Send her a picture of yourself with a Happy Mother’s Day sign.
  • Tell your mother what you love about her over a video call.
  • Play a game or watch a movie together over a video call.

Peach colored grahic with red and blue frame and a bouquet of flowers. #MyORHealth horizontal rule

When Mother’s Day is painful

For many people Mother’s Day can be a hard day. If you have lost your mother or child, struggled with infertility or have difficult relationships, the holiday may be painful. If the day is complicated for you, be kind to yourself.

  • Acknowledge your feelings.
  • Give yourself permission to opt out of social media or other media for the day or weekend.
  • If it feels right, take time to remember the person you are missing.
  • Connect with a friend or family member who can provide you with the conversation you need, whether it’s recognition of your painful feelings or distraction from them.

If you’re looking for someone to talk to, the David Romprey Warmline is a peer-to-peer and community counseling support line that’s available Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call the line at 800-698-2392.

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Portland metro clinics offer walk-in and drive-up COVID-19 vaccines this weekend

All4Oregon at the Oregon Convention Center

All4Oregon is a COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Oregon Convention Center, created with the collaboration and leadership of Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, OHSU, and Providence. The clinic provides vaccines to all eligible people, 16 and older, in the greater Portland metro area.

Walk-ins are now welcome to the All4Oregon clinic or you can schedule your appointment directly here.

OHSU clinic updates

No appointments are necessary for first doses to Oregonians ages 16 and older this weekend at OHSU’s PDX Airport Red Economy Lot site. Drive-up vaccines will be for a first dose only.

Drive-up hours are:

  • Saturday, May 8: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • Sunday, May 98 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can now schedule your second vaccine dose with OHSU even if you got your first dose elsewhere. Call 833-647-8222, weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to schedule.

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“Take a Bite out of Covid” mobile vaccine event in downtown The Dalles

Take a Bite out of Covid will be held this Friday, May 7, a mobile vaccine clinic will visit several local restaurant/pubs and offer the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and all participants will receive $10 in tokens for food.

The North Central Public Health District (NCPHD) has made use of a van provided by Wasco County to do mobile vaccine clinics. The mobile clinic will run from 5 p.m. until about 9 p.m., and will begin at Freebridge Brewing, then at around 6:15 p.m. will head to the Bargeway Pub for a while, and then wrap up around 7:45 p.m. at the Sunshine Mill Artisan Plaza and Winery. More establishments may be added later.

Participants will receive the free vaccine and two $5 tokens imprinted with the saying “Take a Bite out of COVID.” The tokens must be redeemed that evening for food.

Graphic of food truck in purple and green.#MyORHealth horizontal rule

Oregon counties have new indoor capacity limits for indoor recreation and indoor entertainment

Under the direction of Governor Brown, indoor capacity limits in moderate and high risk levels are now updated for indoor recreation and fitness and indoor entertainment for Oregon counties. As of Wednesday, May 5, indoor entertainment establishments and indoor recreation and fitness establishments in all Oregon counties may allow the following:

  • Moderate risk: Maximum 20% occupancy or 100 people total, whichever is larger
  • High risk: Maximum 10% occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is larger

Lower and extreme risk capacity limits for these sectors remain the same.

To view the updated capacity limits, please refer to the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart.

OHA releases latest monthly update on breakthrough cases

Oregon Health Authority has identified 611 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases through May 3, including eight deaths. The number of vaccine breakthrough cases identified in Oregon remains very small when compared to the more than 1.3 million people who have completed their vaccine series against COVID-19.

Vaccine breakthrough cases are defined as instances in which an individual received a positive COVID-19 test result at least 14 days after the completion of any COVID-19 vaccine series.

OHA is not reporting the regions in which the deaths took place. Of the 611 reported vaccine breakthrough cases, 14% (n=89) were observed in individuals who reside in long term care facilities or other congregate care settings.

OHA is now providing updates on breakthrough cases the first Thursday of each month. The current report for May 2021 can be found here.