City of Seattle Partners with SEIU 775 to Vaccinate Phase A1 Home Health Care Workers
SEATTLE (January 22, 2021) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the next phase of the Seattle Fire Department Mobile Vaccination Teams (MVT), which involves a COVID-19 vaccination partnership with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 775 and focuses on older adults in supportive housing.
To date, the City of Seattle has received 1,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Following the completion of adult family homes, the two Seattle Fire Department (SFD) Mobile Vaccination Teams will begin to vaccinate home health care workers and Seattle’s most vulnerable older adults living in permanent supportive housing and affordable housing. This newest vaccination effort began January 21, 2021. In addition, the City launched a new in-language website, www.seattle.gov/vaccine, where residents can find information regarding the progress of the vaccination effort in Seattle and can sign up for weekly vaccination updates from the City.
“In their first week in the field, our Mobile Vaccination Teams have provided relief and security to hundreds of our most vulnerable Seattle residents. Our health care workers and the Seattle Fire Department are saving lives as they vaccinate our communities. As the City receives additional doses, we can vaccinate more workers and elders, who are some of our highest risk communities without equitable access to the health care system,” said Mayor Durkan. “We know that Seattle’s road to reopening and economic recovery starts with vaccinations, and Seattle is committed to significantly increasing the vaccination rate and ensuring 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 City of Seattle is partnering with SEIU 775 to host its first pop-up vaccination clinic in the coming days. The SFD MVTs will vaccinate an estimated 300 SEIU 775 members in one day, and will provide the second dose four weeks later. SEIU 775 represents 45,000 home care workers statewide who are eligible to get vaccinated in Phase A1. Home care workers – like those represented by SEIU 775 – are disproportionately Black, people of color, and limited English speakers, who don’t have a common worksite, and are more likely to be uninsured. As such, many King County-based home care workers have not yet been vaccinated despite their A1 eligibility and close proximity to extremely high-risk communities, including older adults and people with multiple co-morbidities.
“In-home caregivers play a vital role in our health care system. They are keeping our most vulnerable residents out of over-crowded hospitals and nursing homes, keeping them safe and healthy in their own homes,” said SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders. “Like other front line health care workers not working in hospitals or nursing homes, home care workers have struggled to find places to get vaccinated. Caregivers are among the first eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and we appreciate the partnership with the City and SFD to help ensure that happens.”
In addition to the SEIU 775 pop-up clinic, this effort includes permanent supportive housing complexes for older formerly homeless individuals who receive wraparound case management services. At these complexes, residents often share congregate spaces, including kitchens and bathrooms. The SFD teams will also begin to vaccinate older, low-income adults living in affordable housing. The SFD teams will set up pop-up vaccination clinics at housing operated by the following organizations: Bellwether Housing, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (CCSWW), Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), and Seattle Housing Authority (SHA).
All senior housing locations included in this effort have Long-Term Service and Supports (LTSS) clients supported by either the City’s Aging & Disability Services (ADS) unit or ADS-contracted community partners. LTSS enable residents to live in a community setting rather than a more expensive nursing home or assisted living facility. LTSS case managers conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify care needs and authorize or coordinate in-home services to meet those needs (e.g., help with meals and bathing).
The Seattle Fire Department expects to vaccinate between 100 and 150 residents affiliated with each organization, and the City expects it will use 100% of its weekly DOH dosage by January 26 and receive an additional 1,000 doses next week. All senior housing locations being visited by the MVT were recommended as priority locations by ADS in consultation with Public Health – Seattle & King County.
“The Chinatown-International District has the highest concentration of elderly in the city. Most are low income and limited English speaking, and accessing the Covid-19 vaccine is extremely challenging. We are so grateful that the Seattle Fire Department is vaccinating hundreds of our low-income, high-risk elders. We all have a role to play in keeping our communities’ elders healthy and safe,” Maiko Winkler-Chin, Executive Director of SCIDpda.
“Catholic Community Services of Western Washington is deeply grateful that the Seattle Fire Department is vaccinating our elderly and vulnerable residents against COVID at two of our buildings. SFD coming to our folks means that they are getting the life-saving vaccine in the nick of time. We house people with limited mobility and means. We hope the SFD team will be able to come to all of our buildings with people in need. It’s our best hope for stopping the spread of this disease, which has already taken some of our residents’ lives,” said Flo Beaumon, Deputy Director of CCSWW.
Since January 14, the MVTs have vaccinated 670 residents and workers at 81 Adult Family Homes (AFH) and two permanent supportive housing buildings in Seattle. SFD expects to complete the first round of doses on January 22, and will complete the second round of doses by February 21. The City is vaccinating residents and workers at all Seattle Adult Family Homes not served by the federal government’s partnership with CVS/Walgreens. The City identified locations in partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County. AFHs are often much smaller and less resourced than other long-term care facilities, and as such, were not initially included in the federal program. The federal government eventually updated their program to include these facilities, but did not extend the application deadline, meaning that many AFHs were excluded from the vaccination effort.
“Many of our residents in supportive housing have chronic health conditions, and home care workers have been risking their health to provide care to their patients, whether family providers or a referred client. Prioritizing these groups helps us stop the spread of COVID in our most vulnerable populations, and in turn reduces the stress on our health care systems and kickstarts economic recovery. I’m proud of the leadership of this City — thank you to Mayor Durkan the Seattle Firefighters, and SEIU 775 for this partnership, creating a healthier Seattle overall,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide).
“The City is taking an active role in ensuring our most vulnerable neighbors have easy access to the vaccine, especially BIPOC communities that have suffered the brunt of COVID impacts. Accessibility for home health aid workers and supportive housing residents will mitigate disparities in healthcare access. Thanks to Seattle Fire, SEIU 775 and our housing operators for thinking creatively together to move our vaccine allotment into community quickly,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park).
“The Mobile Vaccination Team model was created to be flexible and to be able to deploy where vaccinations are needed most, whether that’s to a facility or to a pop-up clinic. Each team is staffed with a Seattle Fire EMT and two civilian members, and within one week of operating, are on track to complete vaccinations by the end of the week at all of the pre-identified adult family homes within the city. As the State enters phase 1B, Tier 1 and continues to fulfill vaccinations for those eligible in 1A, we are prepared to move into the next phase of work. By vaccinating older adults living in permanent supportive housing and affordable housing, and SEIU 775 home health care workers, we are prioritizing the most vulnerable population with our limited supply of vaccine,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
The City will receive another 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine from DOH on January 26, and the City will continue to focus its efforts on the most vulnerable communities at risk of hospitalization and death. The 1,000-dose cadence will likely continue until the vaccine supply chain increases. Last week, Mayor Durkan joined mayors across the country to call on the new Biden-Harris administration to allocate COVID-19 vaccinations directly to cities.
On January 18, Governor Inslee announced that the State was moving into Phase 1B, Tier 1 of its vaccination distribution plan. The following communities are currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine per DOH guidance:
- Health care workers
- High-risk first responders
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- All people over 65 years-old
- All people over 50 years-old who cannot live independently, or who live with and care for a young child
For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/vaccine. The City’s vaccination website is available 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.