Subject: Vaccine Eligibility Expands

Updates from Dr. Biemer

News on the Coronavirus and vaccines

February 9th, 2021                    

Dear patients and friends,

In this regular newsletter update, we are doing our best to keep you informed about the coronavirus and Covid vaccines. Below are the answers to a few of the most common questions we are getting right now.

Who is eligible now?

This week, seniors 80 and over became eligible for vaccine signups. View the table in light blue below for Oregon's projected vaccination eligibility schedule for other groups. If you are a Washington resident, check out this webpage for the Washington Department of Health for phase information and vaccination locations.

I'm eligible. How do I sign up?

Check out the dark blue side bar where we've gathered the resources we know of for signups. Unfortunately, we are aware, as is the state of Oregon, that volume of eligible adults exceeds the weekly allotment of vaccine. This means that for most, it will take time to be able to sign up. Our recommendation is to keep checking back with sign up sites and if you're having trouble to call the help centers listed below.

I'm not tech savvy. How can I sign up?

Adults who are 80 and, over and others who have difficulty signing up with internet platforms may call 211 to receive help scheduling from a live operator. You can also text questions to 898211 or email

Should I get the vaccine?

If you become eligible I recommend you get the vaccine. Both vaccines currently in distribution are safe and effective. Side effects are common but generally mild and short lived. If you have questions or specific concerns with the vaccine, I am happy to help you make this decision.

Am I eligible if I have pre-existing medical conditions?

According to OHA, "adults who have a medical condition or disability who receive services in their homes," are the only group currently eligible based on pre-existing conditions. Other than this group, OHA has not specifically addressed a timeline for those with pre-existing conditions to be vaccinated, but has acknowledged that this will be one of the subsequent priority groups.

Can I come into the office for visits now?

Our office has been and will remain open for new-problem visits that must be conducted in person. Now that staff has been vaccinated, we will also begin seeing regular follow up appointments and some annual exams in the office at the providers' discretion. These will be conducted with all Covid safety protocols in place including visits at intervals to minimize shared time in waiting spaces, regular disinfecting of common spaces, masking, social distancing, temperature checks, and a pre-visit screening phone call. We also ask that when you come to the office you come alone or limit to one additional visitor when necessary.

We will continue to offer virtual visits for the foreseeable future and may encourage that option if we feel it's a better fit for your needs.

Should I still be getting Covid tested?

Yes. If you have symptoms of Covid, please call our office to check in. Depending on availability of testing kits we may be able to test for you or direct you to a testing site. It is also a good idea to check state regulations if you have any travel planned, as many states are requiring pre-travel covid screening. Here is a good list of testing locations put together by Washington county.


I hope this update finds you well. Stay tuned for information as we learn more.


Dr. Biemer, Julia Jones and the whole office crew

COVID-19 Vaccine Information 


The vaccine is to be distributed as outlined by the OHA. *Please note that this phasing has already undergone significant change and is subject to continued adjustment.

Phase 1A - Eligible now*

  • Front-line healthcare workers

  • Tribal health programs

  • First responders

  • Individuals working in correctional settings

  • Public health workers

  • Death care workers

  • Residents of skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities, adult foster homes, and other similar group living situations

  • Paid or unpaid care providers to medically fragile children or adults

  • Adults or 16+ children with medical condition or disability, receiving care at home

  • Healthcare providers who provide direct service to people with I/DD and other high-risk populations

Phase 1B - Eligibility staggered*

  • Group 1: K-12 educators and childcare providers (Jan 25th)

  • Group 2: Seniors 80 and older. (Feb 8th)

  • Group 3: Seniors 75 and older. (Feb 15th)

  • Group 4: Seniors 70 and older. (Feb 22nd)

  • Group 5: Seniors 65 and older. (Mar 1st)

Use the vaccine eligibility tool on the Oregon Health Authority Website to determine whether you should sign up for a vaccine and get connected with a clinic. Washington residents please refer to the Washington Department of Health for more information.

If you have been vaccinated or get vaccinated please let us know so that we can keep this record in your chart.

I'm eligible, how can I get a Covid vaccine?

The Oregon Health Authority Website is the most up to date source of information and sign up. Scroll down to the middle of the page where it says "Vaccine Information Tool" and click "Lets Get Started." This tool will help determine your eligibility and route to appointment scheduling. Those needing assistance may call 211, text 898211, or email

Oregon Health Authority information by County. This will bring you to a list of county websites for local information.

Pharmacies will also be administering vaccines. Here is a link to the Costco scheduling tool and the Safeway/ Albertsons scheduling tool. These will become active as the pharmacies gain access to the vaccine. Check your local pharmacies website as well. Some smaller private pharmacies may also have access.

Our Practice

It is not obvious yet when the vaccine will be available to our clinic for distribution. In addition to careful state level oversight of distribution, there are currently storage specifications that would prove challenging to small clinics. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, is stored at -70 degrees Celsius. For the time being, vaccinations will be distributed through vaccine clinics, hospitals, and local public health agencies.

Looking for more frequent updates? 

Visit Get Vaccinated Oregon on the Oregon Health Authority website to sign up for alerts. This tool will also help you match with a vaccine provider when you become eligible.

See updates here from Oregon Health Authority.

Safeway pharmacy is also offering a sign up for vaccine distribution information.

Some useful links...

Here is a list of Covid testing sites compiled by Washington County. Although the list was compiled in Washington county, many of the listed resources are available to the greater Portland area. Here is the Oregon Health Authority Testing Map.

Never hesitate to contact us

James J. Biemer Jr. MD

9135 SW Barnes Rd. Suite 863

Portland, OR 97225

(p) 503-384-0316

(f) 503-416-8145