Mass vaccination sites set up around Seattle: Goal is 45,000 shots per day in state
If Washington state is to vaccinate 45,000 people a day against Covid-19, the puzzle becomes how – and where – to inject so many people.
At Seattle University, the Campion Ballroom has been transformed into a mass vaccination site.
The ballroom kitchen is now the pharmacy, where techs prepare the vaccine. Next door, the chapel is the registration room.
This mass vaccination site is where many health providers not affiliated with a major health system are getting vaccinated. It’s also where Seattle Public Schools is directing its staff who currently qualify for a Covid-19 vaccine.
The site is run by Swedish, part of an effort to surge forward from the state’s sluggish start rolling out vaccines.
Here, the amount of neon in this room assaults the senses: Color-coded florescent vests for staff and volunteers, red boxes for the syringes, signs in yellow.
The pep is just as bright. On the day I visit, early Saturday morning, volunteers chant together for inspiration.
“We are here to vaccinate! Seattle U help make it great.”
At the highest point on this recent DAY, they expect to vaccinate more than 330 people AN HOUR.
There are so many details for volunteers to keep track of: Which vaccine, which dose, and what to do with the loaded syringes on your table if you have to step away to use the bathroom (give them to your neighbor).
An announcement urges volunteers to keep the shots flowing and hold up a sign to indicate you’re free for the next patient. Another reminds them that “Today is a Moderna day.”
(Patients may be receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or the Moderna on different days. Important not to mix that up.)
At this location, the emphasis is on efficiency. Vaccinators preemptively rip open Band-Aid after Band-Aid and line them up.
Everything moves here. People getting injected don’t even sit down. Not until after the shot, when they must sit in a line of socially distanced chairs and stay put for 15 minutes.
Hospital linen delivery man, Dave Lim just got his shot. He says being around dirty hospital sheets is one reason he wanted to get vaccinated.
“I want to be safe, you know, with the death,” he said. "I haven't seen my parents in like over six, seven months. I want to get all that done and hopefully they can get theirs too.”
A few rows back, psychologist Caroline Rinke sits in another chair. She says she used some deep breathing techniques to calm herself before she got injected, though it ended up being a minor poke.
“On TV, they show all these shots constantly, and the needle looks very long,” she said. “But I am so happy to get it. And I want to also be part of helping everybody else by getting it too.”
Outside, volunteers direct a long line of people who just arrived. "Please make sure your photo IDs are ready to go so you can make it through this line quick, quick like a bunny!” says the woman filing people in.
In line, Giang Nguyen said she lives with seven people in her house, including older relatives, so she’s afraid of spreading the virus.
“If I get it, it may be okay,” Nguyen said. “Because I'm still young, I can take good care of myself. But if I spread it out to my auntie or my grandma, it's more unsafe for them.”
Right now, this site is vaccinating people in phases known as 1a and 1b (tier 1). Those groups include people who work in health care settings, people 65 years or older, and people 50 years or older living in a multigenerational household.
If you’re interested in getting an appointment at this location, here’s the site for that.
Be warned – getting an appointment might be tricky. The slots fill up fast and the site is booking out days in advance.
Swedish is opening slots when they learn from Washington state how many doses of vaccines they are going to get.
“That is typically a week in advance, so we’re only scheduling out a week in advance,” Swedish spokesperson Tiffany Moss said. “Appointments do go quickly, but sometimes people cancel and other slots open up.”
Otherwise, a list of approved Covid-19 vaccine providers – who may or may not actually have doses or appointments available when you check – is here.