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Tacoma popup clinic delivers Johnson & Johnson vaccine—and hope

We’re working hard to get COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in Pierce County who is eligible. Over the last three months, we’ve begun offering many different paths for you to get vaccinated.

One of our most effective tools is popup clinics in communities where people face barriers to vaccination. About 300 people were vaccinated at such an event Monday at Tacoma’s Shiloh Baptist Church.

Our Director of Health, Dr. Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, attended. He was inspired by what he saw.

“It’s a really important way for us to reach these communities and ensure fair access for everyone,” Dr. Chen said.

One and done: Johnson & Johnson vaccine a powerful tool to break down barriers.

We heard the same three words over and over Monday: “One and done.”

That’s because the clinic featured the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, another great tool to get people vaccinated.

The Tacoma Ministerial Alliance asked us to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the clinic.

Many people find it hard to take time off work. Some don’t have access to transportation. Others have disabilities that make leaving home difficult. And we know some experience anxiety over getting a shot or worry it will hurt.

For these folks and others, full vaccination with one dose is ideal.

Clinical trials found the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to be 85% effective in preventing serious illness and 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. The vaccine is easy to store, and you only need one dose.

That makes it a perfect fit for popup clinics and people who face barriers to vaccination. It’s difficult for some people to get one dose, much less two.

People were excited to get vaccinated, and to get it over with all at once. You could feel the relief and joy.

Offering hope—and addressing worries. 

The single shot persuaded some who were hesitant to get vaccinated. So, too, did encouragement from the community and the support of a local church.

We need to get vaccine to all phase eligible individuals as soon as possible, but it’s especially important for Black, Latinx and other communities who are marginalized.

The data shows we need to do better. People in many of these communities suffer more from COVID-19. They’re also getting vaccinated at lower rates than our white residents.

That’s why trusted messengers within the community are so valuable. Clinics like Monday’s help reduce barriers and bridge gaps. While the single shot persuaded some, it was the support from community and the leadership of a local church, that was most impactful.

Local politicians, and at least one professional athlete, were among those who came out to support the clinic. Some who attended had concerns, but all were given the opportunity to have their questions addressed prior to getting the shot.

The staff and volunteers were largely reflective of the population served at the clinic. Many of the participants expressed appreciation and gratitude for the professionalism, kindness, calmness and efficiency they experienced onsite.

All of us have been through so much during the pandemic. The sight of the community coming together to find a way forward was inspiring. We will continue to offer these clinics where they’re needed most.

A closer look at the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Three vaccines are available to protect you from COVID-19. Each was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, independently reviewed by experts and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine had the most diverse group of participants in clinical trials.

Clinical trials show each is very effective at preventing people from getting sick, being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. Early evidence also suggests they protect against infections where the infected person might not have symptoms. COVID-19 is more likely to spread in that circumstance.

You may hear different numbers for the effectiveness of each vaccine. You should know we can’t directly compare the results from clinical trials of the three vaccines because they were studied at different times and in different populations.

Evidence shows the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is effective against some of the dominant variants of COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States. Experts conducted clinical trials of this vaccine in 8 countries, including Brazil and South Africa where variants were in circulation.

Our path back to normal life.

Ultimately, your best choice for a vaccine is the one that’s available to you now.

All the vaccines will protect you from COVID-19, which make them our best tool to return to normal life.

If your turn hasn’t come yet, have hope! Many people became eligible in recent weeks, and many more will do so in the weeks to come. You canuse the state’s Phase Finder tool to check your eligibility.

In the meantime, keep doing the things that keep you, your family and your neighbors safe.

We’ll get through this together. Learn more at tpchd.org/coronavirus.

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