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Washington launches 'Care-A-Van' service to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to underserved communities

The new mobile COVID-19 vaccination service launched on June 1.

Editor’s note: The video above about Seattle closing the Lumen Field, Rainier Beach, West Seattle and North Seattle vaccination sites was originally published in May 2021.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health launched a new program Tuesday, June 1, that is aimed at delivering COVID-19 vaccines to communities that have been underserved throughout the pandemic.

"Care-A-Van," a part of the state’s latest move away from mass vaccination sites and toward outreach, is the new mobile vaccination service that can be requested by community members to visit areas that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The service’s areas of focus include counties with high vaccination gaps distinguished by race or ethnicity, communities overrepresented in COVID-19 cases, hospitalization and death count and particular groups that have likely experienced vaccine inequities along with geographic locations that the Care-A-Van has not already visited.

“This first-of-its-kind capability at the Washington State Department of Health level will help ensure we reduce any and all barriers for those who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Washington Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said in a statement.

To request a visit from the Care-A-Van, Washingtonians can submit a form through the DOH website at least 30 days prior to the date of the desired visit. For those who are unable to access the online form, the DOH's hotline is available for assistance at 1-800-525-0127.

On May 20, the DOH announced that it would be closing most of its state-led mass vaccination sites with the Spokane site being the only one remaining open.

According to the DOH, more than 50% of all Washington residents have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while just over 43% are fully vaccinated as of May 30.