DESC and Swedish reach out to offer vaccinations

Partners vaccinate neighbors experiencing homeless

A tent is set up in a parking lot, surrounded by stacks of supplies.

Thanks to the efforts of DESC’s COVID Team in partnership with Swedish Medical Center, 112 people who might not otherwise have had access received COVID-19 vaccinations during a June 15-17 outreach event.

DESC and Swedish began to coordinate in early June to offer outreach vaccination clinics to our community members experiencing homelessness. At the first event on June 3, Swedish set up a tent at the Red Lion Hotel shelter in Renton. Onsite staff and Director of Clinical Programs Maggie Hostnick, SHORE (Stabilization, Health, Occupational Readiness & Engagement) Program Manager Emmett Anderson and Substance Use Disorder Program Manager Lisa Grillo knocked on hotel room doors to encourage clients to get vaccinated.

After that event, Maggie and Emmett planned the June 15-17 outreach with Swedish and noted a few potential vaccination sites in North and South Seattle. DESC Clinical Outreach teams identified encampments or other sites that a focused outreach would benefit. They chose places where people were unlikely to have any—or adequate—access to vaccinations.

The COVID Team invited community partners to join the outreach event. REACH, Catholic Community Services, the Executive Hotel Pacific and Starbucks each sent one or two staff members to partner with a Swedish team and visit sites either they or DESC had identified for outreach.

Red backpacks are lined up on a paved parking lot.

DESC created flyers for the event and compiled the list of outreach locations. Swedish and DESC bought and organized supplies for each team to take along. They included tents, sleeping bags, gift cards, bus tickets, food, drinks, hygiene items and harm reduction supplies. During the event, Swedish paired community partners with the medical providers, and DESC drove teams to and between sites and restocked the outreach supplies.