Note: The following is an updated version of a COVID update from VashonBePrepared, sent by email to community members on Oct. 8. The original email is available to read in Spanish and English at tinyurl.com/yan39zeh.
Islanders who got the Pfizer vaccine now have expanded access to boosters right here on Vashon.
The new mass vaccination site opened Monday, Oct. 11, at Vashon United Methodist Church. It’s by appointment only, with no drop-ins. A task force of volunteers from Vashon Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and VashonBePrepared have set up the clinic and will be staffing it in support of Vashon Pharmacy.
Booster vaccinations are free. Sign up online for an appointment at VashonPharmacy.com/COVID.
This new clinic will be indoors and out of the weather, not under tents. It will be at the Methodist Church, 17928 Vashon Highway SW in the education building. Please find a parking spot at the Methodist Church, 17928 Vashon Hwy. SW, when you arrive. When you get out of your vehicle, look for signs directing you to the correct door.
Remember to bring your vaccination card so the vaccination team can put a booster sticker on it. The card is also needed so the vaccination team can be certain to give you the correct vaccine and confirm that it has been six months or more since you completed the initial two vaccination shots.
Keep in mind: Only booster (third Pfizer) shots will be provided at the new vaccination clinic at the Methodist Church. First and second vaccination shots will be administered at the Pharmacy. Be sure to check in at the correct location, as directed in the info sheet you will receive after you make an appointment.
Can You Get Your Shot Now? Here’s your eligibility checklist
First, can you say yes to all three of these questions?
• Did you get the Pfizer vaccination? (Moderna and J&J are not yet approved for boosters.)
• Has it been six months since you had your second shot
• Are you 18 or older?
Second, can you say yes to at least one of these questions? Are you:
• 65 years or older
• 50-64 with an underlying medical condition?
• 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on individual benefits and risks?
• 18-64 at increased risk due to occupational or institutional setting?
• Reside in a long-term care setting?
Did you say yes to the first three questions and yes to at least one of the second set of questions? Yes, yes, yes, and yes? Congratulations! Make your booster vaccine appointment at VashonPharmacy.com/COVID.
As a practical matter, most people 18 or older are now able to get a booster shot at the new vaccination clinic, as long as they completed their Pfizer vaccination more than six months ago.
Why Are Vaccinated People Getting COVID?
Let’s start with this: It’s true that some vaccinated people are getting COVID, but very few of them are being hospitalized or dying. By contrast, the latest data dashboard statistics from Public Health — Seattle & King County show that unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to test positive for COVID, 41 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID and 57 times more likely to die of a COVID-related illness.
Still, it’s disappointing to hear that some vaccinated people are getting COVID. To understand what’s going on, keep in mind that the vaccines achieved 90% protection against getting sick during the scientific studies for safety and efficacy. That’s very good, but it’s not 100%. In other words, we knew going in that 10% of vaccinated people might still get COVID. Plus, studies tell us the Delta variant is more infectious.
There’s another factor and it’s pretty counterintuitive. Vashon has such a high rate of vaccinated people that it is more likely that a noticeable number of those who get COVID will have been vaccinated. After all, who else is left to get sick?
Finally, many of us grew up with a different experience of vaccines. Polio. Measles. Tetanus. Mumps. Those vaccines provide what some like to call sterilizing immunity — complete prevention of disease. The COVID vaccines are different. They prevent most infections, not all, but almost completely prevent serious disease, hospitalization or death. So, when we hear the word “vaccine,” we expect to never get sick, but that was never going to be the case with COVID.
Help Wanted: Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
Okay, we could use a hand. Actually, we could use about a dozen helpers to join our EOC Team. The Vashon Emergency Operations Center needs more people who enjoy working together on a team to solve problems — people with practical life experiences in getting stuff done. We particularly need folks who know something about logistics, what it takes to get stuff and get it where it needs to go. You’ll score extra points if you believe you are good at dealing with rapidly changing and urgent situations. You will get a few more bonus points if you are familiar with the Incident Command System, but we’ll train you if you are not. Interested? Email us at volunteer@VashonBePrepared.org. In your email, tell us why you think this would be your cup of tea!
Current Vashon Community COVID Statistics
• 218 total COVID cases for Vashon residents since the pandemic began.
• 97 new cases since early July when the Delta variant hit Vashon
• 50% of new September cases are among youth (19 and younger)
• 5 islanders have been hospitalized since the pandemic began
• 3 islanders have died for COVID-related causes since the pandemic began
• 86.5% of Vashon residents (aged 12+) are fully vaccinated; more than 95% have received their first shots
In September, for the first time since the pandemic began, the case rate on Vashon went above the case rate for mainland King County. The current case rate on Vashon is more than 230 per 100,000 population for the seven days ending October 2nd.
This information comes primarily from the official Public Health — Seattle & King County data dashboard. Some additional data has been provided by Vashon Medical Reserve Corps analysis.
A final plea from Vashon Emergency Center and Medical Reserve Corps: Please, get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so. If you started and didn’t finish, please get the full benefit of your first shot by getting your second shot.
For more resources and information from VashonBePrepared, visit VashonBePrepared.org. Sign up at tinyurl.com/4smk364m to receive updates from the group in Spanish and English. VashonBePrepared can also be found on Facebook, by searching the name, typed as one word.