By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
As COVID continues to make its presence known and affect the lives of humanity, Seattle Mayor Durkan, Public Health Seattle-King County and a number of community-based organizations have taken the necessary steps to provide citizens with avenues to combat this deadly virus.
Last week, Mayor Durkan, along with Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins, announced the location of the City’s third vaccination clinic at Southeast Seattle Senior Center in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of South Seattle.
In partnership with the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, the Center for Multicultural Health and the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization (MMPNO), the new South Seattle Vaccination Clinic will operate most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The clinic will administer first, second, and booster doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“We recognize that many members of the BIPOC community reside in the Rainier Valley. Those individuals are under vaccinated and are in need of a vaccination location that is in their community which is why we’re excited for this partnership,” said Southeast Seattle Senior Center Executive Director Lynda Greene. “During the pandemic, the Center continues to partner with the City of Seattle to support the much-needed vaccination site in the Rainier Valley. We are in the community, and our community members know us and they trust us!”
The clinic will have the capability to administer up to 1,600 shots per week adding capacity to existing public health, health care, and pharmacy capacity. This increased capacity includes the ability to provide shots to children 5-11.
“The new Rainier Beach Vaccination Clinic will add capacity to provide thousands of vaccines and boosters to South Seattle communities, supporting equitable access in one of our more diverse parts of the city. I’m grateful to the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, Center for Multicultural Health, and Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization who are stepping up to support our neighbors at this critical juncture. Through our partnerships we can continue to ensure the City of Seattle remains one of the highest vaccinated cities in the country,” says Durkan. “Since the onset of the pandemic, Seattle has led the way on COVID-19 with the fewest cases, hospitalizations, and deaths of any major U.S. city, and we did that by following the science. Science is telling us today that the best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community from COVID is to get vaccinated. As we move into the holiday season and join with friends and family more frequently indoors, vaccinations become even more important,”
No walk-up appointments will be available for children 5-11 and appointments for pediatric vaccines must be registered for in advance. Patients 12 or older are not required to register for an appointment at any City clinic, however, advance registration is recommended as it expedites patients’ on-site experience. The CDC is allowing patients to mix and match vaccine brands when getting boosters. Patients may choose to take Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J without concern about the original vaccine administered. Proof of insurance and identification are not required; proof of vaccination is recommended for those receiving second or booster doses. Patients can register for an appointment at any City site at https://seattle.signetic.com.
“We know families need accessible vaccine information where they feel safe and from people they trust,” said Dr. Dwane Chappelle, Director of DEEL. “That means ensuring vaccine opportunities and information are available in culturally responsive ways that are rooted in strong community relationships. DEEL is proud to serve as a partner in this work to support families and children with information about COVID-19 vaccines to keep school communities healthy and thriving.”
The City’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) has partnered with a number of community-based organizations to make available in-language helplines. These phone numbers are for immigrant and refugee residents who are limited English proficient and/or have limited access to the internet to ask questions and/or find vaccination opportunities. More information on the OIRA Vaccine Community Helplines is available online at https://welcoming.seattle.gov/covidhelplines.
As the first major U.S. city impacted by COVID-19, Seattle pioneered efforts for municipal response with innovative approaches to vaccinations, testing, and community support. On June 9, 2021, Seattle became the first major American city to vaccinate 70 percent of its residents 12 and older. To date, the City of Seattle has administered nearly 262,000 vaccinations.
“I want the community to know that we are here to serve them,” says Greene. “Our goal is to make sure that we can get every single person in the Rainier Valley and the community at large vaccinated so that we can save lives.”
For more information, including how to get vaccinated, visit the City’s vaccination website at www.seattle.gov/vaccine.