Finding free access to respiratory virus vaccines

Worries about the cost of vaccines are not the only barriers to getting vaccinated.

CERT Training: “Now I Know I Can Do It in an Emergency.”

A new class of Vashon citizens are well on their way to completing their basic training for service as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers — the first new class since the pandemic began four years ago.

The third training module in the training series covered the safe use of fire extinguishers and small generators, as well as how to turn off a supply of propane or natural gas. In all, the students are taking a nine-week journey required to complete the basic curriculum for the CERT training. This qualifies them to join the CERT team on callouts for emergencies. To become a fully qualified team member, they will complete some more advanced supplemental classes over the next two years.

The trainees learned the P.A.S.S. method: Pull the extinguisher pin. Aim at the base of the fire. Squeeze the trigger. Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.

“In CERT we learn hugely useful skills. These are basic skills that everyone should have,” said trainee Kate O’Hare, who already is a volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps. “I never had the opportunity to actually use a fire extinguisher and now I have done it. So, now I know I can do it in an emergency.”

Guide to Free COVID Vaccinations

The COVID Vaccine Education and Equity Project (CVEEP) wants you to know that no-cost COVID vaccinations are available for nearly everyone. They’ve published two user-friendly charts that summarize free options for getting the vaccine. They are loaded with information, and the best way to select a free vaccination path for your household is to view them online. There’s a chart for adults and one for children, and they are available in both English and Spanish.

The CVEEP organization’s website ( lists more than 230 participating partners in the group’s education effort — the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Lung Associations, Mujer Latina, the National Association of County & City Health Officials, and many, many more.

Vashon’s Vax Access Program

Worries about the cost of vaccines are not the only barriers to getting vaccinated, and that goes for all three of the seasonal respiratory virus vaccines —COVID, influenza (flu), and RSV. Vaccine access is especially important right now because we have several more months to go in the annual respiratory virus season.

Vashon Pharmacy, VashonBePrepared, and the Vashon MRC work together to provide access to vaccines for people who may be homebound or have mobility challenges. Some folks don’t have access to a computer or have trouble using computers to make appointments online. People living houseless have difficulty getting access to health care. Others have language barriers or cognitive or behavioral challenges.

To get help if you or someone you know is facing barriers to vaccinations for COVID, flu, or RSV, visit or call Vashon Pharmacy at (206) 463-9118. You can also email the pharmacy at

Pharmacy staff can help you make an appointment by stepping you through the vaccination form on the phone, in English or Spanish. They also periodically have availability of government programs and other funding that provide vaccines free of charge to patients in need. A vaccine can be administered while the patient is sitting in the car, or a home vaccination visit can be arranged for folks experiencing mobility challenges.

.Guides to Free COVID Vaccination: This CVEEP chart provides information on no-cost options for adults.