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May 2021

Resources abound for statewide info, help on COVID-19

May 5, 2021

More than 5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered throughout Washington, with nearly 29% of residents now being fully vaccinated. Even so, public health officials urge continued mask wearing (especially in crowded places), social distancing, and frequent handwashing.

With vaccine supplies more plentiful statewide and eligibility open to everyone 16 and older, the state's Department of Health (DOH) and various volunteers are offering resources to help residents get vaccinated as quickly and easily as possible.

In addition to public sector resources, several volunteers have initiated social media platforms to help people - especially high-risk and vulnerable populations -- navigate the system to uncover appointments or walk-up locations.

One such effort on Facebook called FindaCOVIDShotWashington was started by two siblings in Snohomish County. Since launching their page a few months ago, this dedicated brother-sister team has attracted more than 50,000 followers and trained 75 multilingual volunteers.

The founders say their mission is to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, along with elderly people and high-risk communities. Individuals with no access to the Internet or Facebook can call 425-780-5785 and leave a voicemail message in English or Spanish.

Members of this Facebook group are invited to post links to vaccine openings. Volunteers who speak more than 15 languages are available to provide one-on-one assistance.

A group of tech-savvy individuals combined efforts to create a site serving older seniors and vulnerable groups who need help finding actual appointments around Washington. Volunteers check more than 1100 providers at 5-minute intervals to identify appointment availabilities. Individuals can subscribe to text alerts for openings by calling or texting a ZIP code to 206-222-9793, or they can visit the WA COVID Vaccine Finder site to search current listings.

The state-run vaccine finder will list locations with appointments within 50 miles of a specified ZIP code.

The Washington State Department of Health also offers a COVID-19 vaccine toolkit for employers and businesses. It includes videos, social media images, and banners. Other resources include a two-page information sheet with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), a 30-second video, a data dashboard, and a multilingual COVID-19 site with details on the state's coronavirus response and resources.