The United States has made incredible progress vaccinating the American public against COVID-19 since the first shots became available in early 2021. At the end of May, half of the country’s adults — nearly 130 million people — are fully vaccinated against the virus. Another five million children aged 12 or older have received at least one vaccine dose. While this data represents incredible progress against a disease that has disrupted every facet of American life for over a year, vaccine rates began slowing in April. Demand has decreased so much in some areas that local health departments are closing the mass vaccination sites that administered thousands of shots per day during the Spring.
While there are several complicated reasons for this slowdown, it does mark a new phase in the fight against COVID-19. Mass vaccination efforts have all but accomplished their primary goal of reaching the majority of the population. Now local governments and healthcare providers are shifting their efforts to targeting specific groups with low vaccination rates. As part of our ongoing COVID-19 support services, Med-X and our sister company Scribe-X have partnered with the University of Washington (UW) to deliver vaccines to vulnerable people in King County.
Throughout the pandemic, Hispanic, Black, and native people have suffered severe COVID-19 illnesses and deaths at a higher rate than whites. This disparity is another complicated issue resulting from social determinants of health that lead many minority groups to have worse health outcomes than the general population.
For example, minority people may be less likely to have health insurance or a primary care provider who can administer a COVID vaccine. While local health departments are offering free shots at vaccination sites throughout the state, many people can’t access these resources because they lack transportation, don’t have childcare, can’t get time off of work, have a disability, or for a host of other reasons. UW and Med-X are cooperating with local community health organizations to bridge these gaps by directly bringing vaccination services to the communities that need them most.
Med-X provides medical assistants (MAs), nurses, and patient testing associates (PTAs) who staff COVID-19 testing sites scattered throughout King County. At the same time, we’re also setting up vaccination sites next door to these testing sites. That way, vulnerable groups can access convenient testing and vaccination services in one location without traveling very far from their homes.
Our teams are also partnering with community groups to set up testing and vaccination sites at locations their members frequent, like in Asian Pacific American Community Centers throughout the county. We believe that by bringing these resources to people who need them, rather than asking them to come to us, we’ll provide convenient access and overcome any lingering vaccine hesitancy in these communities.
It feels more and more like we’re nearing the finish line in our long fight against COVID-19. However, because we’re unlikely to reach herd immunity, testing will remain critical to spot outbreaks, as will vaccination efforts like those we’re conducting with UW. Med-X will likely stay in King County through August and perhaps beyond.
We’re incredibly proud of how our teams pivoted to provide critical services during this pandemic. We’re also proud of the part we’ll play in bringing the pandemic to a close. If you’d like to learn more about our COVID services or how we help outpatient clinics find top northwest talent, contact Med-X today at 503.922.1393 or firstname.lastname@example.org.