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WA Front-Line Workers Encouraged to Get Vaccine

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021   

SEATTLE -- Workers on the front lines stressed it's important for their colleagues in essential services to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Shanai Cole, administrative assistant for the Everett School District's community service department, was able to get vaccinated through her union, Public School Employees of Washington SEIU 1948.

She pointed out the process was quick and easy, and she decided to volunteer the day she was vaccinated, helping about 650 people in the school district get the Johnson and Johnson shot.

Cole encouraged folks to get inoculated.

"Maybe it's not just for you personally; it's for our community at large," Cole remarked. "It's to allow our kids to go back into school. It's to allow people to have their jobs again. It's so much bigger than just one person at a time."

The state is scheduled to enter the next phase of vaccine eligibility Wednesday, lowering the age to people 60 and older.

High-risk workers, such as first responders and folks who work in congregate care facilities and grocery stores, are already eligible.

Amirah Harris, a caregiver in Tacoma and member of SEIU 775, received the vaccine and said it's important for caregivers like her to get it.

"We are in contact with people who are not in the best health," Harris noted. "We are in contact with people who cannot make the best decisions for themselves, so we have to make a good decision for ourselves in a way that impacts others in a good way."

Harris added she's spoken to colleagues who are skeptical about the vaccine and encourages them to do research into its safety.

Nearly 30% of Washingtonians have received at least one shot of the vaccine, according to the most recent data tracked by The New York Times.

Disclosure: SEIU 775 and SEIU Washington State Council contribute to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Education, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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