Jump to COVID-19 Testing & Vaccine Clinics
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Each day during the COVID-19 pandemic seems to bring new information and changing needs. Two of the biggest challenges we’re currently helping meet are the need for COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccines in Oregon and Washington state.
Without testing, people with COVID-19 could spread it to hundreds of others. Our mobile clinics are providing free COVID-19 testing serving primarily unhoused, migrant, and low-income populations. Medical Teams is an official testing agent for Seattle & King County Public Health and for Oregon Health Authority. These testing clinics are mobile and move to multiple locations throughout the state with the help of our community partners. As of June 2021, our U.S. program has held 517 COVID-19 testing clinics, screening over 32,000 individuals, including 1,350 children.
As an organization positioned to respond to the health needs of vulnerable people in our community, we have a unique ability to reach people with the COVID-19 vaccine. Equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine is essential to overcoming the pandemic, and many populations are at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving the vaccine. If people lack transportation, the ability to get time off work, or other barriers, they may not be able to get the vaccine – a vaccine that could save their lives or the lives of people around them.
To break down these barriers, we are bringing the vaccine directly to people who lack access. We’re doing this by partnering with community organizations to deliver the vaccine. Our vaccine clinics are reaching many people, including seasonal farmworkers, seafarers, those experiencing houselessness, rural communities and people of color.
Nationwide, studies are showing that people of color are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. People of color make up a high percentage of essential and front-line workers, and have been falling ill, experiencing complications, and dying in greater numbers than the white population.
In addition, historical legacies have led to distrust of medical authorities and created vaccine hesitancy in many communities of color. To protect vulnerable communities, we are working with community members to share information about the vaccines and build trust.
COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Washington can be found here: https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/
COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Oregon can be found here: https://govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine
COVID-19 testing clinics in Oregon can be found here: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-testing
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A vaccine is an agent that stimulates your body’s immune system to develop protection against a pathogen (a disease-causing agent such as a bacteria or virus). It “teaches” your immune system to recognize the pathogen, so that if you are infected by it, your body can rapidly fight if off, preventing or minimizing disease.
All authorized COVID-19 vaccines work by getting your immune system to recognize the protein spikes that cover the outside of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are what is known as “messenger RNA” vaccines. They are comprised of a small amount of genetic material in an oily bubble. When injected into your body, this genetic material instructs your cells to produce the coronavirus spike proteins, which your body then learns to fight off.
The Johnson and Jonson vaccine is similar, except that it uses a common type of virus (an “adenovirus”) to carry the genetic material into your cells. The virus has been modified to be harmless: it cannot replicate inside your body and cannot make you ill. None of the vaccines contain the COVID virus, so they cannot cause COVID-19. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, whereas the Johnson and Johnson vaccine provides adequate protection after a single shot.
COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for millions of people – and it’s continuing to mutate and spread. The best protection we have against COVID-19 is through vaccines. Right now, we don’t know exactly how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that for schools, churches, business and other parts of society to remain open, the majority of the population needs to be protected against the virus. COVID-19 vaccines provide a safe and effective way to stop the spread of the virus quickly.
Medical Teams International is partnering with Multicare and Verdant to provide free COVID-19 testing to communities across King and Snohomish county. Testing clinics are open to the public and do not require an appointment. Clinics offer testing on a first-come, first-serve basis and accept both drive-in and walk-in clients. No insurance, identification or fees are required for participants, but it is helpful if you can bring an ID or insurance card with you if you have them.
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