A West Seattle coronavirus testing site transformed into a three-day pop-up vaccination clinic aims to provide doses to 750 elders in South Park and West Seattle, with a focus on the hard-hit Latino community.
Latinos have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. While they represent 10% of the King County population, Latino residents make up 24% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases and 18% of hospitalizations, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference at the site Thursday morning.
On Thursday, 144 people received vaccinations in an area of shipping containers painted a light tan. Spanish translators were available at the entrance for patients with limited English proficiency.
Overall, the site has administered over 71,000 tests for the coronavirus, according to Brian Wallace of the Seattle Fire Department.
The city of Seattle’s goal to turn the West Seattle location into a fixed community vaccination hub will depend on the availability of vaccines. Some of this week’s supply was stuck in transit due to inclement weather, Durkan said.
“We know the city of Seattle’s road to recovery begins with and can only happen with vaccinations,” Durkan said. “And we also know that we have to be deeply committed to being sure that vaccination is being distributed equitably and we’re getting to those communities most impacted by the disease.”
Outreach and registration of eligible elders for the pop-up clinic was provided by Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and the Aging and Disability Services division, as well as community organizations El Comite, Villa Comunitaria, the Senior Center of West Seattle and the Seattle Housing Authority.
Since the pandemic started, the nonprofit Villa Comunitaria has helped educate clients on the coronavirus and the vaccine, said Gray Garrido, the organization’s systems navigation coordinator. The South Park-based organization offers food and housing, as well as resources such as labor law and health programs to the Latino community in King County, with a focus on those who are living in the U.S. without legal permission.
“A lot of the times the language surrounding this vaccine and the virus have been very alienating and difficult to understand for our undocumented folks,” Garrido said at the news conference.
This week, the city of Seattle is hosting a second pop-up vaccination site in Hillman City in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Seattle, with an aim to offer doses to 350 Latino elders.
The vaccination process has been difficult to navigate for elders without access to technology, the internet, digital skills or transportation. Language barriers also have been an issue for immigrants and refugees trying to access Phase Finder — the state Department of Health’s tool to determine vaccination eligibility — since it currently only appears in English and Spanish.
Seattle Times photographer Alan Berner contributed to this report.