As part of King County’s regional strategy to equitably, efficiently and quickly vaccinate as many King County residents as possible to get the pandemic under control, Executive Constantine announced that the vaccination site at Microsoft’s Redmond campus will now focus on reaching highest-risk, eligible older adults. In addition, Public Health released a statement of principles for equitable vaccine delivery that will be utilized at all partnership sites.
King County is setting up community partnerships with local governments, businesses, and nonprofits that agree to a set of principles governing where and how vaccines are distributed.
The King County Vaccination Partnership – Redmond will begin administering COVID-19 vaccine this week to eligible Medicaid home-care clients and their caregivers and other highest-risk older adults. Community organizations and service providers are alerting eligible elders and others in the community about the availability of the vaccines and offering help to schedule appointments.
Organizers are intentionally reaching out to eligible older adults hardest hit by the pandemic, including those in the Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Ukrainian/Russian communities. Appointments are not available to the general public at this time.
The site, staffing and additional support services are being provided by Microsoft, Overlake Medical Center & Clinics, EvergreenHealth and other community partners. Public Health officials plan on scaling up the Redmond location when more vaccinations become available.
“I thank our business, health care, and community partners for helping set up our Redmond vaccination site, and I look forward to more partnerships across the region to get vaccines in arms as quickly as supply allows,” said Executive Constantine. “Public Health has long tackled health care disparities in our community. The vaccine roll-out underscores the importance of identifying and overcoming systemic barriers to getting care to those who need it most. The Redmond site and others will operate in a way that reflects our values of equity and inclusion.”
Across the nation and in our region, COVID-19 has had disproportionate impacts on specific populations based on race and ethnicity, age, and geography:
- In King County, communities of color have higher rates of COVID-19 compared to White residents; 4-5 times higher among Hispanics/Latinx residents and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, 2-3 times higher among Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native residents, and 23% higher among Asian American residents
- South King County and pockets in the far north and east of our county experiencing positivity rates that are five times higher than in other areas.
- While less than 10 percent of all COVID positive cases are among people 65 plus, this age group accounts for nearly 85 percent of all COVID-related deaths.
As Public Health continues to partner with health systems and employers to provide vaccines, it will require partners to align with the following practices for eligible individuals:
- Focus on Highest Risk and Most Impacted: While supply remains limited, prioritize vaccinations for eligible individuals who are at highest risk of serious illness and death, and who live in King County geographies with the highest incidence of disease. In addition, Public Health recommends prioritizing the siting of high volume and pop-up clinics in areas with the highest incidence of disease.
- Work with Community: Coordinate with community-based leaders and organizations with connection to highest-risk communities and with particular focus on BIPOC communities. Provide all necessary information to enable these trusted messengers to provide early notification of registration opportunities and other necessary support for people to successfully complete their vaccination.
- Make Registration Easy: Ensure that appointment finding and registration systems are simple to use and easy to understand, available in multiple languages, and accessible for people with disabilities. Where possible, guarantee personal assistance by phone.
- Make Vaccine Available When and Where People are Available: Ensure appointment availability outside of regular business hours, including weekends and evenings.
- Address Transportation and Mobility: Locate vaccination sites near public transportation and work with partners to secure ride service for older adults, people with disabilities or others for whom transportation to the site is a barrier.
- Ensure Language Access: Language access should be prioritized, including the availability of in-person and phone interpreters.
- King County Principles for Equitable Vaccine Delivery
- Public Health – Seattle & King County vaccine information
I thank our business, health care, and community partners for helping set up our Redmond vaccination site, and I look forward to more partnerships across the region to get vaccines in arms as quickly as supply allows. Public Health has long tackled health care disparities in our community. The vaccine roll-out underscores the importance of identifying and overcoming systemic barriers to getting care to those who need it most. The Redmond site and others will operate in a way that reflects our values of equity and inclusion.
We have heard loud and clear how difficult it has been for eligible patients to get access to vaccines. This new eastside location, added to the two King County sites already operating in Kent and Auburn, will make it easier for eligible residents to receive their vaccinations. At this site, Public Health has committed to working through community organizations to connect life-saving vaccines to the people who are at the highest risk and who are the most impacted by COVID. I want to thank EvergreenHealth, Overlake Medical Center and Microsoft for their partnership with King County to make this important resource available.
I’m grateful to the community partners whose input informed the equity principles that are enabling our partnership with Microsoft. This partnership will deliver limited vaccine doses to those most vulnerable to COVID-19, which is vital to our recovery. These equity principles will enable us to enlist the assistance of other businesses and healthcare partners to more effectively and equitably get vaccines to those who need them most.
I want to thank Microsoft for their continued dedication to our local community and ensuring access to the vaccine is equitable and available to those in our surrounding region. I also want to thank our local hospitals that have been at the forefront of this effort and the Redmond Fire Department who are partnering with Microsoft on getting our community vaccinated. This is a national effort that will take a regional approach, and we are fortunate to have so many dedicated partners here in Redmond and our surrounding area.
Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC) strives to improve the well-being of thousands of vulnerable seniors who are Chinese, Russian, and Spanish-speaking immigrants. Without language, cultural, and technology support, they would struggle to get vaccinated. Our bilingual staff are working hard to support vaccination efforts in coordination with housing providers, fire departments, and local government. We applaud King County for working with trusted community partners to ensure our neighbors who are most at risk will be protected soon.