Hundreds get vaccine at Seattle’s first pop-up clinic

SEATTLE — Seattle’s first-ever pop-up coronavirus vaccine clinic went off without a hitch as home healthcare workers received their first dose of the vaccine.

It was an invitation-only clinic to vaccinate those caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

So eager were the caregivers to get vaccinated, they came early. The clinic wrapped up at about 5 p.m., with a lot of caregivers getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.

It was a response that surprised even those who planned Seattle’s first-ever outdoor pop-up clinic. Hundreds of home caregivers accepted the invitation to receive their first coronavirus vaccine.

Many of those who came to be vaccinated had to brave more than the cold.

“I’ve thought about it quite a bit. I’ve been reading about it,” said home health aide Mary Guski.

She drove to Seattle from Silverdale. Guski said her research helped her overcome her own fears.

“And I’m pretty comfortable with it,” Guski said. “I know some of my family are not because of the speed with which it was developed.”

And they are apparently not alone. Many African-Americans share their skepticism.

John Masembe, a health care worker at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, had to convince his own mother, also a caregiver, to line up for the vaccine.

“We had to weigh the pros and the cons,” said Masembe. “Like, ‘Are you much more worried about the reaction from the vaccine or the long-term effects of the virus?’ And since she’s a health care worker she’s like, ‘You know what? I’m going to protect my kids and myself.’”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan eagerly kicked off the clinic’s opening.

“The city of Seattle is working together in partnership with so many people to make this happen,” said Durkan, “because we know vaccinations are our hope.”

That partnership included SEIU Local 775. That’s how Mary Guski learned about the clinic and why she was able to get her vaccine.

The mayor’s office says Seattle firefighters vaccinated 434 home health care workers Saturday, about 100 more than they predicted.

The city says it will hold another pop-up clinic next month so that those vaccinated Saturday can get their second shot.