City of Seattle approved to be vaccine distributor; Seattle Fire Department launches mobile vaccination teams to focus on adult family homes
information from the City of Seattle
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced new City of Seattle actions to support vaccination efforts in Seattle and Washington state. On January 9, 2021, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) approved the City to serve as a vaccine distributor, meaning the City is eligible to receive weekly shipments of vaccine from DOH and can administer vaccine to Seattle residents and workers. Following this approval, the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) will quickly launch two mobile vaccination teams to vaccinate nearly 1,000 residents and staff at Adult Family Homes (AFHs) within the next two weeks.
“While we had a difficult start to 2021, I believe we have so much hope on the horizon with vaccinations. Seattle continues to have the lowest cases and hospitalizations of every major city, and our bold collective action shows that together we can save lives and combat the pandemic. There is so much at stake to quickly get our communities vaccinated. Most somberly, more than 375,000 people have lost their lives in our country due to the COVID-19 virus. And the burden of the pandemic has fallen disproportionately on our Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities,” said Mayor Durkan. “We know that Seattle’s road to reopening and economic recovery starts with vaccinations, and today is the first step in the City’s efforts to significantly increase the vaccination rate and ensure 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.”
The Department of Health granted the City’s application to be a COVID-19 vaccine distributor on Saturday, January 9, 2021. The City will distribute the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and will request vaccine allocations from DOH weekly. The City has requested a 1,000 dose vaccine allocation for the first week of the SFD mobile vaccination teams; this allocation aligns with the total number of individuals SFD expects to vaccinate within the next two weeks.
“It is crucial that we step up efforts to rapidly vaccinate vulnerable Seattle residents. The City of Seattle has shown true leadership in the fight against coronavirus from the start, in the absence of federal coordination. Early on, we stood up City-run COVID testing sites that have provided more than 560,000 free tests for Seattle residents, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Seattle Fire Department, coordinating with Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Public Health – Seattle & King County, Finance & Administration Services, Seattle Police Department, and others. This new effort to speed vaccination will save lives and help us not replicate the unacceptable disparities we have seen in infection rates in BIPOC communities,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park).
The Seattle Fire Department’s mobile vaccination teams have a goal of vaccinating nearly 1,000 residents and staff at Adult Family Homes (AFHs) within the next two weeks. SFD will begin vaccinating AFHs Thursday, January 14, 2021. The mobile vaccination teams will be comprised of two registration technicians and one firefighter/EMT or firefighter/paramedic, and the two teams expect to vaccinate 10 AFHs per day. The SFD teams will vaccinate AFHs not served by the federal government’s partnership with CVS/Walgreens, and locations were identified in partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Based on vaccine supply, the SFD teams expect to vaccinate every AFH in Seattle not served by the federal program by January 24, 2021, with the second dose provided at each home by February 21, 2021. SFD will vaccinate both residents and workers at each AFH. AFHs serve both older adults and people with disabilities.
“Seattle Fire is the first fire and emergency medical services agency in the state to be approved to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. At the beginning of the pandemic, we sought approval to test community members for COVID-19, and we are prepared to pivot our work again to help in this new capacity. Through our Mobile Vaccination Team program, we will be able to deploy to congregate facilities to administer the vaccine to those who need it most. I am proud of our members for stepping up to serve others once again, and know that through widespread vaccination, we can save lives … and we can end this,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
“For almost one year, the CoVID-19 Prevention Network has worked to ensure that the National Institutes of Health-funded vaccine trials included participants that represent the diversity in this country. We can now say that we have efficacious vaccines that work for all of us,” said Michele Andrasik, Ph.D., Director of Social & Behavioral Science Research and Community Engagement at Fred Hutch. “The vaccines, however, will not improve the health of our communities. Vaccination – people actually getting the vaccines – is what is needed to see an impact on COVID severe illness and death, disproportionately experienced by Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.”
Based on vaccine supply, the City of Seattle can broaden its mobile vaccination efforts during the interim period between the first and second vaccination dose at the initial group of AFHs. The City’s expanded effort will likely focus on partnerships with community-based organizations and providers who serve older adults who may be unable to receive a vaccine through traditional health care systems. As vaccines become more widely available to the City of Seattle or other providers in Seattle, the City is prepared to partner and launch mass vaccination hubs – similar to the existing mass testing sites. More information will be available in the coming days.
The State Department of Health – based in part on national best practices – determines who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and when they are eligible. Currently, Washington is in phases A1 and A2 of the vaccination effort, in which high-risk workers in health care settings, high-risk first responders, and long-term care facility residents are eligible to get the vaccine. Later in January, Washington will begin phase B1, in which all people over 70 years old and people over 50 years old who live in multi-generational households (households that include more than one generation) are eligible to get vaccinated. For more information on vaccination phases, please visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.
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.
Residents and businesses can find a list of existing COVID-19 relief resources and policies on this website.