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Coming to you. We partner with local groups to answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions.

UPDATED: 01/10/2022

Questions from residents came in fast at our recent community engagement outreach event in Spanaway. You asked questions like: 

“How many COVID-19 breakthrough cases have we seen here?” 

“What do vaccine mandates mean for my work?” 

Health Department experts Matt Brignall, ND and Ahmad Yassin, DO, MA, FS, Madigan resident, were on hand to answer the questions. They had to be on their toes. 

“We get great questions from the community,” Brignall said. 

The event was one of many around the county sparked by our community partnerships—this one with with Jay Brower of the Bethel School District. Health Department employees answered questions, distributed test kits and shared information on basic needs resources, while the school district handed out essential items and holiday gifts to those in need. 

“It’s really vital that we go into some of the resource deserts of our county to make sure people are empowered with knowledge and information and services,” Brower said. 

Partnerships growing, even during COVID-19

Bethel School District and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department have a long history of working together. Whether giving guidance to school children on public health issues or supporting community gathering spots like the Bethel Family Center, we often work closely with school districts like Bethel. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the bond. 

“During the pandemic we reached out an awful lot for guidance,” Brower said. The district often spearheads events using the Bethel Outreach Bus, an old school bus modified to help carry good and services to the community.

The school district, as part of the Bethel Outreach Bus work, planned long in advance to hand out items to families in Spanaway. Looking for creative ways to engage with residents, the time served as a perfect opportunity for health experts and community outreach workers to come along. 

“Lots of people have questions,” Brower said. “To have 2 trusted doctors come out today and 1 last week… I think it’s very important for our communities.” 

People in the community get a chance to ask a variety of questions. And we get a chance to encourage things like vaccination and masking up. 

“We’re talking to folks all around the community about COVID-19,” Brignall explained. “Reminding folks it’s still a crisis and they have to get the vaccinations into arms to get this crisis under control.” 

It also gives us a chance to perform the vital day-to-day community outreach that helps areas thrive. Because engaging with the community face-to-face helps us all feel more interconnected.   

“Outreach helps us build trust in several neighborhoods in our district,” Brower said. 

Brignall said events like the one in rural Spanaway help the Health Department learn and grow. 

“It’s really helpful to get out there and learn what folks’ needs are so we can speak to their needs more effectively,” Brignall said. 

Not stopping even after we hope COVID-19 does. 

Brignall and Brower envision a day when outreach events are a little different and not centered so much on COVID-19. People will continue to come together to focus on other pressing health concerns, hearing from experts. 

Brower said. “I think the sky’s the limit and the best is yet to come,” Brower said. “We’re just getting started.” 
If you’re interested in building more direct relationships with the Health Department in your community, please email info@tpchd.org.

To free up more space to answer other questions, we need to get COVID-19 under control. We can all take steps to bring this to an end. Most important: Make sure your family is vaccinated. Everyone age 5 and older is eligible. You can find your first, second or booster dose at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.

And you can do even more to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

UPDATED: 01/10/2022