A message to members: COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in hospitals soon
As frontline healthcare and behavioral healthcare workers, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have worked tirelessly to care for our patients and clients during the COVID-19 crisis. We have faced unprecedented challenges and continue to fight in our workplaces every day to ensure we have what we need to safely give the best possible care.
Now, the coronavirus vaccine is on its way to Washington state, with vaccinations to begin as soon as Monday. The vaccine will be distributed to acute care hospitals and the highest-risk healthcare workers will receive the vaccine first, in what is called Phase 1a of the vaccination plan. You can learn more about Washington state’s vaccine distribution plan here.
This is a long-hoped for development, but we also understand that many of our members have questions about the vaccine. We will hold a town hall webinar for members later this week to provide a place for you to get your questions answered by public health experts. Until then, this Washington Post article has helpful information that may answer some of your questions about how the vaccine was made and how it works.
Healthcare workers should have access to the coronavirus vaccine. As we all know, having a vaccine does not save lives, vaccinations do. Just as we do with the flu vaccine, we encourage healthcare workers to take the coronavirus vaccine. It’s only through high utilization that we will be able to beat this virus in the future. The science is strong that this vaccine will protect us from getting COVID-19.
Our union also takes the position that the coronavirus vaccine should not be mandatory, and accommodations should be made for all workers who unable to take the vaccine so they may continue to work safely. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your delegate or organizer.
Together, we have provided the best possible care to our communities throughout this extraordinary moment. Let’s continue to stay united for our patients, our families and our communities.
Executive Vice President