While officials have touted COVID-19 efforts in Seattle to reach the city’s most vulnerable populations, some of its most at risk communities across the Central District and the core of the city are falling behind in the effort to protect people from the deadly virus.
“While many older adults in Seattle have been vaccinated, Central Seattle currently has the lowest vaccination rate among people 65 years-old and older in all of King County,” a city announcement on the situation reads. “In addition, many older adults face technology and/or mobility barriers that make accessing a vaccination appointment difficult. As more contagious COVID-19 variants spread through the region, it’s all the more critical that every single older adult receives a vaccine.”
According to King County data, only just more than 40% of Black residents aged 65 and older across three key Central Seattle ZIP codes — 98112, 98122, and 98144 — are estimated to have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
This week, two of Seattle’s city operated vaccination sites transitioned to allowing walk-up service for older patients to help address the shortfall:
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced two new efforts to increase vaccinations among older adults in King County. Effective immediately, all people 60 years-old and older are able to walk-in to the Community Vaccination Hubs in Rainier Beach and West Seattle and get vaccinated without an appointment.
Meanwhile, Seattle has also launched a “Good Neighbor” program to encourage younger people to help get their older family, friends, and neighbors vaccinated:
Good Neighbor is an innovative walk-in vaccination program that allows older adults and the person accompanying them to get a vaccination at the Rainier Beach (Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Atlantic City Boat Ramp at 8702 Seward Park Ave S, 98118) or West Seattle (Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 2801 SW Thistle St, 98126) vaccination sites without an appointment. Here are the parameters for the Seattle program:
- One patient must be at least 60 years-old, the other must be at least 16 years-old.
- Neither patient has received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
- Neither patient has an appointment.
- Only one additional person gets vaccinated with the 60 year-old patient.
Last week, Washington state finally fully opened the gates on vaccination eligibility. All 6.3 million Washingtonians 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.
But officials are worried as infection totals across the state and here in King County haven’t let up. Around 350 a day are testing positive with the virus with a current average of around 16 new hospitalizations a day. Measures related to both metrics are at risk of pushing the county back in its reopening phase, requiring a return to stricter rules around social distancing and businesses.
The concern about older residents in Seattle comes amid better news for the nation as the totals of COVID-19 hospitalizations for older Americans have plunged across the country and increased energy is being directed at getting younger people to get their shots and end the pandemic.
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