SEATTLE — Cities and counties in western Washington are staffing up strike teams to go out and vaccinate people for COVID-19 who cannot get to clinics and drive-through sites on their own.
The Columbia Place senior home in Seattle's Rainier Valley neighborhood houses some of the city's most vulnerable residents.
On Tuesday, Seattle Fire Department teams vaccinated more than 80 people at Columbia Place and another location.
SFD vaccination crews work seven days a week at adult homes and affordable housing complexes throughout the city.
“We’re giving out every shot that we possibly can,” said SFD Capt. Brian Wallace.
They've vaccinated more than 1,500 people over the last two weeks and are ready to expand their efforts as vaccine supply increases.
“We'll stand up as many teams as we need to,” Wallace said, noting that the city has diverted some resources from COVID testing to vaccination teams.
Puget Sound Fire launched a similar program that will serve Kent, SeaTac, Covington, Maple Valley and South King County.
They said they plan to staff up four to six teams to visit adult family homes and long-term care facilities.
A Snohomish County Health District spokesperson said vaccination teams have already visited some group homes. They plan to do more once the vaccine supply increases.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said it's still developing plans to use mobile vaccine teams.
The Seattle Fire Department said it'll return to Columbia Place in about a month to give patients their second doses.
“That's all kind of built into our process,” Wallace said.
He said his teams are getting 11 doses out of each vial of Moderna vaccine, which is manufactured for 10 doses per vial.
Rod Brandon, director of operations for the Seattle Housing Authority, which runs Columbia Place, said his organization has had few problems trying to convince residents to get vaccinated.
“I actually was anticipating probably more reluctance,” he said. “In the first few days it's been going well. We’ve just been getting a huge uptake in taking the vaccines.”