With a focus on ensuring more equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, a drive-thru clinic is providing more than 1,000 appointments at the Premera Campus in Mountlake Terrace this week.
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Premera Blue Cross, QFC and Business Health Trust partnered to host the vaccination clinic. It is focused on serving populations, including seniors, who have faced historic and ongoing exclusion as a way to support equitable access to the vaccine.
Organizers worked with more than 20 community partners serving populations that have been marginalized in the past. All appointments were filled ahead of the event.
“This effort’s special focus on vaccinating seniors and expanding vaccine equity means better health for all citizens in Mountlake Terrace,” said Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Erin Murray, who is also the HR director at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
Organizers reached out beforehand to local organizations focused on BIPOC communities, including the Mountlake Terrace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission, MLT Anti-Racist Coalition, the Buddhist Temple, Seattle Meditation Center and Muslim Association of the NW at the Masjid Umar Al-Farooq mosque in Mountlake Terrace. They also worked with the City of Mountlake Terrace to coordinate outreach about the community clinic to senior populations and at K-12 schools.
“Equitable vaccine access within our local communities is an important extension of Premera Blue Cross’s business strategy of providing simple and easy access to health care,” Jeff Roe, president and CEO of Premera Blue Cross, said in a statement.
The clinic was scheduled to deliver 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine April 21 and 22. While all residents ages 16 and older are now eligible for vaccines, the Moderna shot is only approved for ages 18 and older. Volunteers from the organizations that put the event together are providing staffing and operational support, which includes translators in multiple languages at the drive-thru clinic.
On Wednesday afternoon, cars were lined up across multiple lanes and staff said that it was averaging about 45 minutes from the time people drove-up until they received the shot. Follow-up appointments to receive the vaccine’s second dose are also scheduled at that time to streamline the process. Once people got the shot, they were then directed to a side parking lot afterward for approximately 15 minutes of observations before leaving to ensure they didn’t have any adverse reactions.
“Vaccinating 1,000 of the city’s 21,000 residents is certainly an accomplishment worth celebrating,” Murray said. “In addition to that, it gives us hope that brighter days are ahead of us.”
— Story and photos by Nathan Blackwell