Windmill in the Harney County Sunset

Photo Courtesy of Debbie Raney

What’s Inside…

Hours & Locations:

420 N Fairview Ave.
Burns, OR 97720

Right across from the hospital

Phone: (541) 573-2271
Fax: (541) 573-8388

After-hours emergency numbers:

  • Sick? To contact the HDH Nurse Triage Line after hours 541-573-8345
  • CD Reporting after hours 541-589-3645
  • Environmental Emergency after hours call the non-emergency dispatch 541-573-6156

Business Hours:
Monday – Thursday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
(Excluding holidays)

8:30 am – 2:30 pm

RN Clinic Hours:
Monday – Thursday
8:30 am – 5:00 pm (closed for lunch from noon-1:00 pm)

8:30 am – 2:30 pm (closed for lunch from noon-1:00 pm)
Vaccines, family planning and STI visits offered every day.
Syringe services offered on Friday from 1:00 to 2:30 pm
Call if these times don’t work. Call for further information.

High Country Health and Wellness Care Clinic Hours:
Monday-Thursday, excluding holidays
8-12 and 1-5PM

How To Contact Us:

Kelly Singhose, LPN, Interim PH Director, RHC Clinic Manager

Dr. Sarah Laiosa, DO, Primary Care Provider, Harney County Health Officer, District Medical Examiner

Barbara RothgebFNP, Primary Care Provider, Communicable Disease Nurse

Christina Roozeboom, Medical Assistant

Zoe Thompson,RN,Immunization Coordinator, Reproductive Health Coordinator

Kathy Escobedo-Nuñez, Disease Intervention Specialist, COVID 19 Case and Outbreak Investigator

LeAnn Smith, WIC Coordinator

Charlotte Campbell, Billing Specialist

Ashley Campbell, Billing Specialist

Rayann Allen, Receptionist & Medical Records

LaNaya Vickstrom-Gibbon, WIC Clerk, Receptionist

Maxine Nyman, Oregon Health Plan Assister

Virginia Lopez, CHW, Certified Medical Interpreter, Interim PH Director, Office Manager, Oregon Health Plan Assister, Vital Records

Currently Vacant, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Email: TBD
After-hours emergency number 541-589-2423

Jesse Barnes, REHS, Environmental Health

Currently Vacant, TPEP Coordinator
Email: TBD

Bill Hart, Public Health Administrator
State Registrar
450 N. Buena Vista #5
Burns, OR 97720
Phone: 541-573-6356
FAX: 541-573-8387


The information below relates to the Moderna vaccine. For Johnson and Johnson questions, please reach out to the health department.

  1. How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
    • On a basic level, the vaccine causes your body to create antibodies that can be used to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19 if you are infected. For those who are interested in the science, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, which means that it is not a live or dead virus that is injected into you. Rather an mRNA strain is injected into you, and it makes its way into your cells. Once inside, the cells read the mRNA sequence and begins building spike proteins, very similar to the spike of the coronavirus. The harmless spike proteins are released and your body spots the intruder (the protein). This will stimulate your immune system to form antibodies to the COVID spike protein without you getting sick. When your body is exposed to the actual virus, your body will know what to do and create antibodies to attack the virus and destroy it before you get sick. The technology used to make this vaccine is NOT new to science.  The same technology is used for immunotherapy for cancers and has been safely used in medicine for a long time.  This is part of how the vaccine was created so quickly-because it uses already existing technology.
  2. Is it a live virus that is injected?
    • No there is no live or dead virus that is part of the vaccine. The vaccine uses mRNA to stimulate your immune system and help it respond if you are exposed to the coronavirus.
  3. Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
    • This is a myth. It is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The mRNA used in the vaccine cannot create the virus, and therefore there is no chance of you being infected from the vaccine. It also can not gain access to the nucleus of your cells, so there is no risk of it affecting your DNA.
  4. How was the vaccine created so quickly?
    • Usually, it takes several years to develop a vaccine, confirm its safety, and manufacture it in sufficient quantities. However, the COVID-19 vaccine timeline was shortened substantially. This was accomplished due to multiple factors. First, some of the clinical trials combined phase 1 and 2 to assess the safety and efficiency of the vaccine. In addition, due to the large number of COVID-19 cases throughout the United States, the efficiency of the vaccine and safety issues can be assessed quicker in both the vaccine and placebo groups, than during the absence of a pandemic. Lastly, the US government invested heavily in the manufacturing capacity that allowed millions of doses to be create quickly once the vaccine entered the phase 3 trials. Usually this does not occur until after the vaccine has been approved, delaying distribution. However, due to the severity of the virus, the federal government accelerated development so that if the vaccine was approved, it could be distributed quickly.
      Also, the vaccine was moved to the top of the priority list at the FDA.  Many drugs will sit waiting for FDA review for a few years.  During this time nothing is being done with the medication or vaccine, it is just waiting.  This vaccine’s FDA review was able to be accelerated due to the pandemic.
  5. How can we trust the manufacturer or the federal government when they state that the vaccine is safe? Don’t they have ulterior motives?
    • Regardless of the politicization of the vaccine over the past several months, there is no cause for concern when the FDA states that the vaccine is safe and authorizes it for use. This is because of the way the vaccine was studied and the safety data was collected. In order to submit their vaccine for approval by the FDA, a company must complete multiple phases of clinical trials. The 3rd phase of trials includes a study of tens of thousands of participants. To eliminate all potential bias, the study is carried out as follows. First, the volunteers are split into two groups. Then, one group receives the COVID-19 vaccine, while the other group receives a placebo, usually a harmless saline solution. Neither the providers administering the shot, the volunteer, the scientists monitoring the study, nor the executives at the company know who is in which group. Instead, a board of independent scientists know the groups. Then the groups are studied over a 2-month period to determine the efficacy of the vaccine at protecting against the individual being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Once the study is completed, the data is compiled by this board and then the company submits the data to the FDA.
    • In the instance of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, after the data from the study, along with the safety data, was put together, it was submitted to the FDA, and quickly approved. In Oregon, a separate independent safety board reviewed the data to determine the safety of the vaccine and also approved it for distribution in Oregon. These processes eliminated potential bias, and also allowed many qualified individuals to study the safety of the vaccine, assuring the public of its safety.
  6. Why are there so many COVID-19 vaccines in development?
    • There are currently multiple vaccines in production. At the moment vaccines created by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson have been approved through the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, although Johnson and Johnson use has been paused for additional safety analysis. The FDA has assessed the safety of the vaccine and it has been approved and deemed safe for the public. There are more in the pipeline that will likely finish their clinical trials and apply for authorization in 2021. When the pandemic began earlier this year, many companies began working on a vaccine. Most use mRNA similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to combat the virus, but each is slightly different. There is a possibility that before the vaccine becomes available to the general public, it may be from another company which is approved in 2021. As we do not know much about these other vaccines, compared to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, it is clear that no vaccine will be approved without it being studied carefully, and deemed safe by the FDA.
  7. How do we know if the vaccine is safe?
    • As the vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, it is quite safe. There have been thousands of people studied in clinical trials, and none have reported severe reactions to the vaccine. Companies that wish to have their vaccine approved must complete several clinical trials, and then submit 2-months of follow-up safety data regarding those trials to the FDA. Then, it is evaluated for safety by the FDA. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved through an EUA by the FDA, and also evaluated by an independent board of health professionals in California, Oregon, and Washington to ensure its safety and eliminate political bias.
  8. Are there any complication from the vaccine?
    • There are very few documented complications from the vaccine. It is recommended that once you receive the vaccine, that the individual wait 15 minutes under the care of the vaccinator to ensure there are not complications. We recommend 30 minutes of evaluation if you have a history of anaphylaxis. There have been a few allergic reactions reported in Oregon and the United States, but it appears to be due to the individual’s severe allergy to previously taken vaccines.
  9. Are there short or long-term side effects?
    • The most recent studies completed by Pfizer and Moderna both lasted multiple months. Experts generally agree that side-effects of a vaccine are usually apparent within a 2-month time frame and therefore we know most of the side effects of these two vaccines. Studies continue to be ongoing, and we will continue to learn new information about the vaccines in 2021. As for short term side effects of the vaccine, according to the CDC, these may include pain or swelling around the injection site, and potential for fever, chills, tiredness, and headaches. These side effects are common with vaccines, and correspond to your body responding to the vaccine in a proper way. Most of these side effects will subside within a few days. If they persist, see your primary care provider. As the vaccine is gone from your body in a few days, there will be no long-term side effects for the vast majority of the population. As with all vaccines, there is a very small risk for long-term effects but that is usually limited to a number as small as 1 in 10 million. You are far more likely to have long-term life altering effects from the coronavirus than from a vaccine.
  10. When will it be available?
    • The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have already started being distributed throughout the country. The Pfizer vaccine arrived the week of December 14th. Moderna vaccine is the vaccine being distributed to Harney County, and the hospital, health department, and pharmacies already received doses. It is currently being offered to all people 16 years of age and above in the county. 16-17 year olds must use Pfizer instead of Moderna. Contact the health department if interested in Pfizer.
  11. Is there a cost? What about those with no insurance?
    • There is no cost to the vaccine. It is already purchased and paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars. There may however be an administration fee owed to the provider who gives the vaccine but this will only be billed to insurance. You should not be charged anything for the vaccine or administration.
  12. How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?
    • At the moment both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require an initial dose and several weeks later a booster dose. The Pfizer booster should be taken 21 days after the first vaccine, and the Moderna should be taken 28 days later.
  13. Is this an annual vaccine or a onetime vaccine?
    • As the vaccine has only recently been approved, it is impossible to tell whether this vaccine will last a lifetime or whether this will become an annual vaccine similar to the flu vaccine. This will be dependent on the efficacy of the vaccine in the larger population, as well as whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates over time.
  14. I heard the vaccine requires ultra-cold storage up to -80 degrees Celsius. Is that cold vaccine being given or does it warm up?
    • The Pfizer vaccine does require ultra-cold storage. The Moderna vaccine requires the standard freezer storage at around -20 degrees Celsius. However, it will not be that cold when you receive the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine will be shipped at -80 degrees Celsius and once it arrives at the facility, it can be put in a standard vaccine freezer for up to 5 days. The Moderna vaccine can be kept in a normal freezer for 6 months, and can be kept in a normal refrigerator for up to 30 days.
  15. Do I need to wear a mask after receiving a COVID vaccine, or quarantine if I am a close contact?
    • At the moment the CDC and Oregon Health Authority has not revised their recommendations for mask wearing or social distancing. However, people who are 2 weeks post 2nd vaccination do not need to quarantine or test if they come into close contact with a confirmed positive. However, this changes if the vaccinated individual starts exhibiting symptoms. Please contact the health department with any questions.
  16. If I already had COVID-19, do I need the vaccine?
    • Yes, you should still receive the vaccine. Certain diseases such as measles or chicken pox do not require immunization if you have already had the virus, as you are protected against repeat infection. However, diseases such as the flu require yearly immunization due to the different strains that can exist. At the moment, there is no evidence that there are significant strains or mutations of the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus is mutating as viruses do, but the vaccine currently appears to work for each mutation, although it may be less effective. However, we are unsure how long the protection may last for those who have already had a confirmed case of the virus. At the moment, we are recommending immunization for anyone with a confirmed case as long as they have recovered. It should be noted though that the vaccine will not harm you if you have already had the virus, and will only bolster your system against a possible reinfection.
  17. If I get the vaccine, will I be protected against inadvertently giving it to another person, particularly those at increased risk such as the elderly or people who are immunocompromised?
    • The vaccine takes multiple doses and a certain period of time to go into full effect. Once an individual has received both doses of the vaccine and two weeks have passed, the vaccination has taken full effect. Therefore, after this time there is a very small chance of the virus infecting the vaccinated individual and resulting in illness or the risk of spread to others. The most recent study conducted by Pfizer showed over 90% effectiveness in protecting against infection, and the Moderna vaccine study showed over 95% protection. Therefore, once you have received the recommended doses, there is very little chance that you will be a risk of infection to others. Studies are still pending on the chance of spread in asymptomatic vaccinated individuals.
  18. Should children get the vaccine?
    • The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for people who are 16 years of age and older. Therefore, at the moment it should not be used for any children under 16. Moderna has been approved for 18 and over. However, both Pfizer and Moderna are continuing studies on children as young as 12. If the studies are successful, then the age group may be lowered.
  19. Is there anyone who should not be vaccinated?
    • Pregnant women, people with a history of severe allergies to vaccines, and children under the age of 16 should at this time consult with their primary care provider to determine if they should take the COVID-19 vaccine as it has not been studied on these populations.
  20. What about mutations? Is the virus mutating, and if so, does this vaccine protect against it?
    • Some viruses, such as the virus that causes the flu can mutate and cause a vaccine to be less effective. As the virus that causes COVID-19 is relatively new, we know there are several variants, including the so-called UK and South African variant. At the moment the vaccine protects the vast majority of those who receive it from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but scientists will continue to research throughout the coming years to ensure that when there is a mutation, we are prepared.


The Harney County Health Department does not discriminate on the basis of: 1) race, 2) color, 3) national origin, 4) religion, 5) disability, 6) age, 7) sex (includes pregnancy-related conditions and sexual harassment), 8) marital or familial status, 9) sexual orientation or other class protected by law.

Interpreters or other assistive communication aids are available at no cost.

Health Dept HIPAA Compliance

Harney County Health Dept Notice of Privacy Practices

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