Community team effort to roll out for booster clinics

The clinics will take place at Vashon High School. Islanders will also have the opportunity to get a flu shot, at the same time.

If all goes well, mass-vaccination clinics to give the new COVID booster to adults will begin on Vashon the first weekend of October.

The mass-vaccination clinics are being planned and operated by the Vashon vaccination task force, which includes Vashon Pharmacy, the Vashon Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR), and VashonBePrepared.

For the first time, the clinics will offer seasonal flu shots as an add-on for those receiving the COVID booster. Both vaccines will be made available at no cost to patients at the mass-vaccination clinics.

The new booster is a bivalent vaccine, so it targets the variants driving the current COVID wave, BA.4 and BA.5, in addition to the original COVID virus.

More details will soon be provided, but here are the basics of who the clinics will serve and how they will work.

• Islanders must make appointments in advance. No drop-ins. Appointments can be made at the Vashon Pharmacy web portal — the same process as all the previous Pharmacy-based vaccinations. The clinics will take place at Vashon High School.

• Vaccination clinics will begin the weekend of Oct. 1 and 2, and the current plan is to provide the high-volume weekend vaccination service for a limited period of time — likely four to six weekends, depending on public demand and assuming vaccine supplies continue to be available.

• Although the clinics are going to take place at the high school, they will only be for people 18 or older. VashonBePrepared will announce in-school vaccinations for islanders younger than 18 at Vashon Island School District (VISD) at a later starting date.

• Only patients and their caregivers may enter the weekend clinics for adults — sorry, no one under 18.

• For the first time, islanders will be able to get seasonal flu shots when they get their COVID booster. Both regular and senior flu-vaccine doses will be available. Islanders must sign up for the flu vaccination in advance at the same time they make their COVID booster appointment.

• VashonBePrepared thanks the Vashon Park District and VISD for providing the clinic space, as well as Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) for sourcing the rapid antigen tests that clinic volunteers will take before they start their shifts. Above all, we thank the many volunteers from all our task force organizations. It will take 22 volunteers for each morning and each afternoon shift to vaccinate up to 450 people per day, plus many additional hours of “behind the scenes” volunteer work.

You Have Questions

Should I get the booster now or wait? Is it safe? What if I haven’t been vaccinated before? What if I already had one or two boosters? These are just a few of the many questions people have been asking. VashonBePrepared will share that information in upcoming newsletter and Beachcomber updates.

Get Free COVID Tests Now

It’s a new month and you can still get ten free COVID tests per month from the state Department of Health. Act now by ordering online at

However, the federal free COVID test program has been suspended because Congress has not authorized new funding for COVID programs.

The federal program has been suspended to conserve test supplies because there’s a concern we could face another winter spike of COVID. Without conserving tests now, there won’t be enough to fight a spike unless Congress renews COVID response funding.

In fact, without new funding, the new COVID booster could be the last government-subsidized COVID vaccine we get. The government has been moving in the direction of relying on traditional medical funding sources such as personal health insurance, for those who have it. Some public funding will likely remain available to vaccinate people who don’t have health insurance.

School District Testing Returns

VISD has reopened its walk-up or drive-up COVID testing site at the StudentLink building on weekday mornings from 7:30 am to 11 am (closed on school holidays). It’s free for VISD students, staff, and families. For more details, visit

Home Tests for Those with Impaired Vision

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) provides free COVID tests for people who are blind or have low vision. The Ellume test technology provides audible step-by-step instructions and test results by using a smartphone. Due to limited supply, these specialized testing kits can only be ordered by calling 800-232-0233. These kits are not part of the federal test suspension and will continue to be available until supplies run out.

Why Test? Because You Care

Test because you don’t want to spread COVID.

Test because you care about your family, your friends, your child’s schoolmate, your co-workers, your grandparents, or a friend whose immune system has been knocked down by chronic illness or medical treatments.

Test because an estimated half of all infected people show no symptoms but are just as contagious as someone who is coughing and sneezing.

Test if you have been exposed to someone with COVID so you know if it’s safe for you to be around others.

Take a few minutes to run one of the easy-to-obtain free home antigen tests. If you know you have COVID, stay home.

Although recent CDC guidelines say it’s okay in most cases to leave isolation at five days, Vashon MRC strongly recommends isolating for ten days after the onset of symptoms (or the first positive test if no symptoms), or until you test negative.

The CDC recommends you wear a well-fitting N95 mask for 10 days after testing positive if you must be around others. You also no longer need a mask if you have two negative antigen tests administered 48 hours apart.

If you have questions about isolation procedures or timing, the MRC remains on the line to answer them at 844-469-4554.

Caretaker Workshop from Vashon Care Network

A workshop is coming to the island that will help islanders find a balance between the challenges of giving care to family, friends, and clients, and taking care of themselves.

The Vashon Care Network will sponsor a two-hour workshop by Jonathon Prescott of Wise Caregiving.

There’s no charge to attend and there’s no requirement for advance registration.

The workshop will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at Puget Sound Zen Center, 18005 Vashon Hwy. SW. Masks are required.

Latest Vashon COVID Statistics

Source: Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) and Vashon Emergency Operations Center. New and historic case counts shown here reflect test results from the public health reporting system, which does not regularly capture results from home tests.

10 = New cases reported since the last weekly report (12 new cases in 14 days).

1,120 = Total reported COVID cases for Vashon residents since the pandemic began.

21 = Patients hospitalized since the pandemic began.

6 = Deaths since the pandemic began.

93.2% = Percentage of Vashon residents age 5+ who have completed the primary vaccine series, compared to 86.8% of the King County 5+ population.

68.7% = Percentage of Vashon residents age 5+ who have added a booster shot to their completed primary series.

For King County, the PHSKC dashboard for the last 30 days says people who are not fully vaccinated are two times more likely to get COVID, seven times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID, and 10 times more likely to die of COVID.

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