On Jan. 12, as COVID-19 vaccine efforts ramp up in Washington state and across the nation, leaders from International Community Health Services (ICHS) welcomed Dr. Umair A. Shah, Washington state secretary of health, to the health center’s International District Clinic.
The meeting opened opportunities for ICHS to raise issues as staff and providers look ahead to the next phases of Washington state’s vaccine rollout, which will continue to target those at highest risk. ICHS received the first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 23, vaccinating front line health workers and residents in its senior congregate care facility, ICHS Legacy House.
“Our successful end to the pandemic is critically tied to the efficient and equitable distribution of the vaccine,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, “As a community health center, ICHS will be key in helping those most at risk overcome language, culture, income and vaccine misinformation barriers that could prevent them from getting vaccinated. We are honored to welcome Dr. Shah to our International District Clinic. Today’s meeting was a productive step in coordinating public, private and community efforts to make sure we inform and reach everyone.”
The secretary released a statement, “Dr. Shah applauds the important work ICHS has done to ensure people in King County’s diverse communities (and beyond) have access to quality, affordable health care, including COVID-19 testing, during the pandemic. ICHS contributions will help ensure an equitable, culturally responsive, and efficient distribution of Washington state’s supply of COVID-19 vaccine so that no one – no matter where they live, their racial or ethnic background, their income, language, or immigration or insurance status – is left behind.”