The Seattle Times hosted a webinar, “A shot in the arm: the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Washington,” on March 15. The hour-long event provided the latest information on how the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Washington stumbled, then shifted into a higher gear, with more vaccine supply, broader eligibility for the shots and a larger focus on delivering the vaccine to vulnerable populations, including people of color.
Investigations editor Jonathan Martin moderated the session, which featured metro reporter Evan Bush, investigative reporter Mike Reicher and columnist Naomi Ishisaka. They were joined by Dr. Helen Chu, an infectious-disease expert who is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and leads the Seattle Flu Study.
The panelists took a broad variety of questions from the audience and shared how public health experts believe that we may not reach herd immunity with COVID-19. The growing consensus is that we will be able to manage the virus in the long-term much like the flu, through regular vaccination and other precautionary measures. Dr. Chu also emphasized that the vaccines were produced in a safe and thorough process and that they provide the best protection against death, hospitalization and serious illness from the virus.