SEATTLE — Grocery store workers meeting Washington state's Phase 1B1 criteria lined up in the rain Sunday for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s a relief. I’ve come like I said, all the way from Port Orchard to get it because it seems like they’re very organized here,” said Lisa Evinrude, one of the people in line on Sunday.
“I’m very thankful to be here. I’m just glad this service was available,” Phil Cohen said. Cohen works at the QFC in Rainier Valley. The last year has been stressful and demanding, putting his health on the line for work, but this day presented a shot at finally feeling safe at his job again.
“We’re on the frontlines everyday working with people. I’m 70 years old. So, I’ve got to get it done,” he said.
Members of the Seattle Fire Department gave the doses. The City of Seattle partnered with UFCW 21, a union representing over 46,000 grocery store, retail, healthcare and other industry workers to host the event.
The pop-up clinic came after a year of unions battling for rights of frontline workers during the pandemic.
“Every day our workers show up even though they are afraid that they could die,” said Faye Guenther, president of UFCW 21.
Seattle gets 1,000 doses of the vaccine each week, meaning nearly half of the week’s allotment went to the pop-up clinic on Sunday.
“We wouldn’t have made it through this pandemic this far without their work. I couldn’t be happier that we’re here able to vaccinate so many them and just in a month they’ll be able to get their second dose,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
But the 400 people vaccinated at the clinic Sunday barely skims the surface of grocery store workers needing the doses. UFCW 21 told KING 5 there are over 10,000 workers in Seattle alone that are in need of the vaccine.
“Although we are doing this clinic today here in Seattle, we’re fighting to get vaccines to frontline workers in every area of the state,” Guenther said.
Appointments were made online, and right after each person received their shot they were scheduled for a second dose in 28 days.
“Now I’m done. I’ll come back in a couple weeks, or I guess the end of the month, February, for the other one,” Evinrude said.
“I’m just relieved and thankful to be here,” said Cohen.