Rainier Beach and West Seattle COVID-19 Community Testing and Vaccination Clinics Now Permanently Open
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today joined government, health care, and community partners at the new Community Testing and Vaccination Clinic in Rainier Beach to announce the next phase of the City’s expanded vaccination effort. The City of Seattle is expanding the citywide mobile vaccination strategy and opening new, fixed vaccination sites—including a mass vaccination site later this month.
The expanded City of Seattle operations are as follows:
- Partnering with UW Medicine on its new Mobile Vaccination Teams, which will initially administer hundreds of doses to the highest-risk communities each week;
- Partnering with Swedish on continuing its mobile vaccination clinics;
- Opening two permanent fixed COVID-19 Community Testing and Vaccination Clinics in Rainier Beach and West Seattle, which will together initially administer approximately 2,000 doses each week; and
- In partnership with Swedish and First & Goal Inc., the City will soon open a mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Event Center, which will initially administer approximately 5,000 doses each week.
“With additional vaccine doses and a small but steady increase in the coming weeks, the City of Seattle is ready to significantly expand its vaccination efforts to reach thousands more vulnerable Seattleites. We have been working on this massive, unprecedented effort for months. We’ve had the infrastructure in place, we just needed the vaccine,” said Mayor Durkan. “This is an important step to significantly increase our vaccination rate in Seattle, but there’s so much more to be done. Ultimately, it will take all of us – employers, health care providers, philanthropy, unions, nonprofits, community-based organizations, and all levels of government – using all the tools at our disposal to get our community vaccinated equitably. I’m deeply grateful to our partners across the city – and to Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health – for their collaboration to vaccinate our most vulnerable communities.”
“As vaccine access expands in the months to come, these sites at the Lumen Field Event Center, and in Rainier Beach and West Seattle will help ensure everyone in Seattle and King County can get vaccinated and help end this outbreak once and for all,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I’m grateful for the partnerships between the City of Seattle, the community, and Swedish to help get the job done. By working together we can and will equitably and efficiently vaccinate all King County adults.”
“It’s extremely encouraging to see more and more people in our community receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Over half of older adults age 65+ have received at least one dose across King County,” said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “The launch of these neighborhood sites is an exciting step for continuing to address inequities in vaccine access by reaching communities that have been disproportionately impacted from COVID-19.”
Beginning Monday, March 1, the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) will operate two new permanent Community Testing and Vaccination Clinics. The clinics are located at the current COVID-19 testing facilities in Rainier Beach and West Seattle. With initial doses, each site can administer approximately 1,000 first doses each week, operating multiple days per week. At full capacity, each SFD site could administer 1,000 first doses each day.
Both vaccination clinics will be focused on referral-only registrations through community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and health care providers. Due to limited supply, walk-ins cannot be accommodated. Vaccination rates of people 65 and older in West Seattle and Rainier Beach continue to lag behind the rest of King County. Less than half of people ages 65 or older have been vaccinated in these ZIP codes. The disparities are especially pronounced for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
The City’s Aging & Disability Services division, Department of Neighborhoods, and Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs have been partnering with over 50 community-based and faith-based organizations primarily serving BIPOC communities, older adults, and immigrants and refugees to register people for the clinics. During its initial pilot period in February, 83 percent of those who registered for the Rainier Beach clinic identified as BIPOC; 40 percent of those who registered for the West Seattle clinic identified as BIPOC. For the week of March 1, 85 percent of all those currently registered for the clinics identify as BIPOC.
COVID-19 testing will continue to be available at both the Rainier Beach and West Seattle sites. Testing and vaccination lines are safely socially distanced and at least six feet apart, and all SFD personnel wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“The pandemic has hit our senior communities hard. They have been homebound for the last year; there’re lonely and miss their loved ones. They are panic stricken and concerned they will not get a COVID-19 vaccination. They are faced with a number of challenges because so many of the seniors we serve don’t have a computer or don’t have access to a computer in order to schedule a vaccination appointment. Many seniors no longer drive so transportation is a challenge. When COVID-19 first started, the Center redirected its normal programing and expanded its Community Dining Lunch program to serve the needs of our seniors, now preparing and delivering 170 meals a day. This has given us the opportunity to share vaccination information with seniors regarding the program offered by the City of Seattle. Now, we’re proud to serve our communities in this new capacity by partnering with the City of Seattle to help seniors get vaccinated. Having a permanent clinic in Rainier Beach is invaluable for us. It gives our seniors a safe place to get vaccinated that’s close to home,” said Lynda Greene, Executive Director of the Southeast Seattle Senior Center.
“We look forward to transitioning our sites in Rainier Beach and West Seattle to permanently offer both testing for the general public and vaccinations for our most vulnerable community members. The work of our Seattle Fire Mobile Vaccination Teams will continue, and through this flexible model of also having vaccination clinics, we can efficiently administer the vaccination doses supplied to the City to those who need it most. Our firefighters and paramedics are honored to be serving our community in this capacity,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
At the Mayor’s direction and through work led by the department of Finance and Administrative Services, the City of Seattle and First & Goal Inc. signed a contract to permit the City of Seattle and Swedish to operate a mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Event Center. With current supply, the Community Vaccination Site at the Lumen Field Event Center will initially administer approximately 5,000 first doses across two days a week. At peak operations and supply permitting, the mass vaccination site could administer 21,000 vaccinations each day or 150,000 vaccinations every week to the entire region.
The Community Vaccination Site at the Lumen Field Event Center is not currently open for operations. The City and Swedish expect to open the site in mid-March. Appointments will be prioritized for community-based organizations serving BIPOC communities, older adults, and immigrants and refugees, but DOH-eligible members of the public will be able to register for a vaccination at this site.
“We’re proud to serve our community by assisting with such an urgent public health need through our partnership with the City,” said Dr. Guy Hudson, Swedish Chief Executive Officer. “Through continued efforts with our mobile clinic, which is offering a critical service to our community by ensuring low-income and minority populations have equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines, and with the new mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Event Center coming online, we will continue to recover from the impacts of this pandemic.”
The City of Seattle is also continuing to partner with both the Swedish and UW Medicine Mobile Vaccination Teams, which have the capacity to vaccinate hundreds of the most vulnerable and high-risk residents across King County each day. The City, Swedish, and UW Medicine closely partner to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure communities historically underserved by government and health care systems are vaccinated through the mobile approach. The mobile teams are prioritizing elders in low-income housing across the City as well as community vaccination events in areas with low vaccination rates. The mobile teams meet communities where they’re at, lowering transportation and logistical barriers.
“UW Medicine is proud to be collaborating with the City of Seattle, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and community partners for the administration of vaccines focused on those in populations who have been hardest hit by COVID-19, including our Black community, communities of color, and people with limited English proficiency. One example is the recent launch of our mobile van team who vaccinated residents at a housing facility in Seattle,” said Paula Houston, Chief Equity Officer, UW Medicine.
Since launching its vaccination effort on January 14, the City of Seattle has administered 10,054 vaccinations to eligible Seattleites. The City has provided 8,665 vulnerable Seattleites the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 1,389 Seattleites the second dose of the vaccine. These vaccinations have occurred at 86 Adult Family Homes, 42 affordable housing buildings with seniors, eight pop-ups, and three community clinic pilots. Roughly 70 percent of those vaccinated by the City identify as BIPOC communities.
For more information, visit the City’s vaccination website at www.seattle.gov/vaccine. The site contains vaccination information 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.