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Lane County Public Health temporarily closing VRC clinic to prep for long-term presence

VRC clinic
Karen Richards
The Community Clinic at the Valley River Center is open Saturday and Sunday, but will pause services beginning Monday, October 24th.

Lane County Public Health has announced it’s temporarily closing the community vaccine clinic in the Valley River Center in Eugene starting Monday.

Spokesperson Jason Davis told KLCC the two-week closure will allow time to renovate the space for long-term use and change health care providers. “The very idea of it, I think, is one that our community has needed for quite a while," he said, "and that is a public health clinic, something that is free to everyone, that is low barrier, and it’s conveniently located.”

Davis said when the clinic re-opens on around November 9, it will offer flu shots in addition to COVID-19 doses and boosters. He said the agency hopes to serve other needs there as well, adding, “We want to make it a resource for folks for routine health tactics that we can provide to the community, things like blood pressure screenings, things like blood sugar screenings.”

Davis said the Valley River clinic has been consistently busy since it opened in the spring, and the location in the mall gives people easy access and a way to combine activities.

Lane County Public Health wants to help people keep working and visiting with friends and family this fall and winter. Davis said as soon as this weekend, “The weather’s going to drastically shift. People are going to be heading indoors. But they’re not going to stop having gatherings, they’re not going to stop being with each other, and that will spread disease, so we do need to brace ourselves for that.”

Davis said when the facility at the mall reopens, it will offer flu shots in addition to COVID-19 vaccines. He said there are other clinics available during the closure, and to check the Lane County Public Health website for up-to-date information.

The Oregon Health Authority is predicting an uptick in COVID cases this fall and winter, and Davis said there is the possibility of a flu surge as well. He said the public health goal is to vaccinate 50 percent of adults for the flu. As of now, fewer than 20 percent of Lane County adults have gotten a flu shot.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.