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Have you been vaccinated for COVID-19 and want others to do the same? You can be a trusted messenger, too.

You trust people you know. That’s why we’ve been talking to people in communities around Pierce County about why they’ve gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 and why they feel others should do the same. We call them Trusted Messengers.

You never know who is going to be the person to get through to someone on the fence about the vaccine. And it doesn’t even need to be anything as formal as a Health Department blog post. Just a conversation you have with your friends and loved ones can mean the difference between whether they get vaccinated or not. 

Do you know anyone who is waiting to get vaccinated? Talk to them. Tell them your story. Be their trusted messenger!

As part of our community outreach team in the Springbrook neighborhood, I’ve had lots of conversations about  vaccines. I share my story, as someone who has lived in the area and gotten vaccinated. I find most people listen and are open. I encourage you to do the same. 

Elodia stands at a table with information for people.

An open door.

A few weeks back, I knocked on a door and the apartment manager cracked it slightly. She put her foot in the bottom, blocking the gap. It was hard to see her face.

“Hello,” I said. My colleague James walked over and we smiled. “We’re from Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and we’d love to talk with you about COVID-19 vaccine.”

“Here’s my badge,” I said. “Would you like to see it?”

She leaned out from behind the door to peek.

“Do you have any questions?” I asked. “Do you have Hispanic people living here? I have flyers and information in Spanish.”

She poked her head out a bit and said, “Yes.” She opened the door a bit more to grab the papers.

“Have you gotten your COVID-19 vaccine?” I asked.

“Yeah, definitely,” she said. “I got my vaccine.” She opened the door farther.

“What was your experience like? How did you feel about it?”

“I felt good,” she said.

“Well that’s really good to hear,” I told her.

Then I told her about when I got the vaccine and what it was like for me. We talked more freely. I listened to her story. I told her my name and gave her my number. I told her about the outreach we are doing and about an upcoming vaccination event in the area. I asked her if she wanted us to come back.

That’s when she opened the door wide. “Yeah, we’d like you to come back!” she said enthusiastically.

It was just an amazing experience. To see that door slowly open. To see her smile on the other side of it.

We left her with information and checked back on her a week later. She promised to distribute all she could. We realized our outreach was not just to connect with those who still need to get the vaccine, but that we can also get help from those who’ve already gotten it as well.

Convincing who you can.

Springbrook has been affected like a lot of other communities by COVID-19. Their vaccine rates are lower than some of the neighboring communities. Some people have concerns about the vaccine. We’ve been focusing on the community for about 3 weeks—taking flyers to apartment managers, getting connected with them and community partners so they can spread the word about the vaccine, too.

The more we talk to folks, listen to their concerns and answer their questions, the more interested they are in getting vaccinated.

I share my story. I let them know I got the vaccine. I’m here and nothing happened to me. If they have any questions  or fears, that’s what I’m here for. If I don’t have that answer, I find it. I contact professional doctors or nurses or encourage them to talk to their medical provider if that makes them more comfortable.

That’s what connects with the community. That’s what changes minds. Whether or not it’s your job like me to talk to people about the COVID-19 vaccines, I encourage you to do so. If you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 and want us all to get back to pre-pandemic living, be a trusted messenger for those around you who are still on the fence or waiting.

Tell them your story. Tell them why you value and appreciate them. Point them in the direction of science and doctors and the Health Department.

Let’s all end this pandemic together!

Find your dose.

Register for your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can also just drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated. No appointment is necessary.

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.