With Weekly 1,000 Dose Allocation, City of Seattle to Vaccinate Older Adults in Congregate Permanent Supportive Housing, Host Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic with Ethiopian Community in Seattle

With Weekly 1,000 Dose Allocation, City of Seattle to Vaccinate Older Adults in Congregate Permanent Supportive Housing, Host Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic with Ethiopian Community in Seattle

SEATTLE (February 2, 2021) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the upcoming focus for the Seattle Fire Department Mobile Vaccination Teams. With its weekly 1,000 Moderna doses from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), from this Tuesday through next Monday the City will vaccinate adults living in congregate permanent supportive housing, older adults living in affordable housing buildings, and will host pop-up vaccination clinic in partnership with the Ethiopian Community in Seattle. In total, the City has vaccinated 2,436 vulnerable Seattle residents and workers since launching its vaccination effort on January 14, 2021.

“In their first weeks in the field, our Mobile Vaccination Teams have vaccinated some of the most vulnerable Seattle residents and workers. Despite the limited vaccines, our mobile teams can focus on addressing disparities in our community, and we’re ready and able to vaccinate more eligible workers and vulnerable older adults, supply permitting,” said Mayor Durkan. “We know that Seattle’s road to reopening and economic recovery starts with vaccinations, and Seattle is committed to significantly increasing the vaccination rate and ensuring the vaccine is easy and accessible to our City’s workers and residents. Even as more of us begin to get vaccinated, we’ll need to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and following all public health guidance.”

In the coming week, the City intends to vaccinate highly vulnerable residents and workers at congregate permanent supportive housing buildings and affordable housing buildings for older adults through partnerships with Bellwether Housing, Plymouth Housing, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), and Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). Residents and workers at Plymouth Housing congregate permanent supportive housing buildings are 1A eligible under DOH’s vaccination timeline. Residents at these locations are formerly homeless individuals who receive wraparound case management services, and share congregate spaces, including kitchens and bathrooms. Residents at Bellwether Housing, SCIDpda, and SHA are Phase 1B, Tier 1 eligible under DOH’s vaccination timeline, and are low-income.

“Vaccine access for vulnerable older adults, including those who’ve experienced homelessness, remains challenging. We’re grateful to the City of Seattle’s efforts to proactively and equitably distribute their supply,” said Paul Lambros, CEO of Plymouth Housing. “Many of Plymouth’s residents live with multiple co-morbidities to COVID-19, and those who live in our historic congregate buildings have a higher exposure risk. The City’s vaccine distribution program is the first step toward reducing this risk, and we look forward to a time when all of our residents, as well as those of our supportive housing partners, are able to access these life-saving vaccines.”

“This pandemic has hit our low income seniors hard. They are experiencing overwhelming isolation and depression and, of course, are at high risk of serious consequences from COVID-19. And while the vaccine rollout is a source of hope, many of them lack access to the technology and transportation necessary to access clinic-based vaccination programs. The Seattle Fire Department’s mobile unit is a god-send for these low income seniors, ensuring that they have equitable access to this vaccine and hope for moving past this very difficult time.” Susan Boyd, CEO of Bellwether Housing.

In addition, the City of Seattle will partner with Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS) to host a pop-up vaccination clinic for East African community members eligible under Phase 1B, Tier 1. The vast majority of residents served by ECS are immigrants and refugees, are essential workers, and live in multigenerational households. Many don’t have access to the internet and have reported difficulty navigating online vaccine appointment scheduling websites, which tend to only be available in English. In collaboration with Swedish Health Services and YMCA of Greater Seattle, ECS hosted a mid-January vaccination clinic, which had a wait list of more than 100 eligible community members.

“From disproportionately high COVID transmission rates and deaths to now disproportionately low vaccination rates, our community has been hit hard during this pandemic,” said Ethiopian Community in Seattle Executive Director Sophia Benalfew. “For many who got vaccinated at ECS, especially those 65 and above, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to access the vaccine as they have limited or no English proficiency and do not have access to internet. That’s why we greatly appreciate the City of Seattle stepping in to help us ensure more vulnerable elders are able to access vaccines. I encourage my community to get vaccinated as soon as you are able and to also please be patient as we continue to work with the City and the County to organize these clinics. I would also ask the City to work with more community organizations to meet the huge demand of at risk and underserved communities and ensure equitable access to vaccines.”

To date, the City’s 2,436 vaccinations have occurred at 85 Adult Family Homes, 12 affordable housing buildings, three pop-ups, and two permanent supportive housing buildings. The City has not wasted a single dose and continues to administer 100 percent of its allocation within one week of receiving it. The City received another 1,000 doses from the state on Tuesday, February 2.

“Vaccinating our most vulnerable populations through our flexible model of deploying our Mobile Vaccination Teams and hosting pop-up clinics continues to make a positive impact on the communities we serve. I have heard firsthand from our firefighters and paramedics administering the vaccine of how rewarding it is to see emotions of hope and relief on those they are vaccinating. We are thankful to be serving our community in this new capacity,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/vaccine. The City’s vaccination website is available in seven languages, and in-language assistance is also available over the phone.

Even as more residents get vaccinated, public health measures like social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands remain critical. Please continue to follow all public health guidance, and visit this website from Public Health – Seattle & King County for more information.

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