UW Medicine has teamed up with the Seattle Mariners to introduce a new program that aims to help aid vaccine distribution in underserved communities across the Greater Puget Sound.
The Strike Out COVID-19 campaign was initiated in recognition of the inequities in health care and access to vaccines.
“The partnership was stimulated by the Mariners recognizing the need to improve the distribution and education of the vaccine, and that’s what we try to do at UW Medicine: provide healthcare in an equitable fashion,” Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, said.
Teams from UW Medicine and the Mariners are working together to develop two initiatives. The first is a community engagement program that aims to communicate the safety, importance, and effectiveness of the vaccines, while the second initiative is a vaccination campaign that uses a mobile van to travel to different communities and distribute vaccines to those who would not have been able to access existing vaccination sites.
Vaccination efforts will not be limited to the mobile vans, however, as UW Medicine plans to provide pop-up clinics in local community centers for people who live around the site.
The Mariners have also promised $2 million to help bolster vaccine delivery, and their participation is key to helping messages surrounding vaccination reach a wider range of people.
“The Mariners have connections with baseball fans and huge baseball programs, so they will be providing some community connections as well,” Ramsey said.
While vaccination efforts will be focused on underserved communities in King County, Ramsey noted that he hopes the messages concerning COVID-19 vaccines will be shared statewide.
“We will be working with other organizations that are providing vaccines to try to do our best to coordinate communication about the vaccine with availability of the vaccine,” Ramsey said. “For example, in eastern Washington, we will be trying to coordinate our messages with centers that are able to distribute the vaccine.”
Given current COVID-19 restrictions, most of the materials about the vaccines will be distributed online or through radio or television. Former Mariners players Alvin Davis and Edgar Martinez have already recorded some messages for distribution.
Messages have been recorded in English, Spanish, Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Oromo.
“The Mariners, during their baseball game, will be interviewing Dr. Santiago Neme, who is one of the medical directors at UW Medical Center, and he will be talking about the vaccine both in English and Spanish,” Ramsey said.
For more information, visit the Strike Out COVID-19 campaign website here.
Reach reporter Sruthi Ravi at email@example.com. Twitter: @Sruthi_Ravi7
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