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Yuni Medlin needed a trusted messenger to help push her to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Now she wants to help persuade others to do the same.

Yuni Medlin is program manager at Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region Rental Assistance Program in Tacoma. She’s focused on homeless prevention in Pierce County for several years. She’s also not a fan of needles or getting shots.

But she didn’t expect the freedom vaccination would bring. After getting a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine a few weeks back, Medlin feels safer and more protected in all her interactions—whether flying out of state or serving the community face-to-face.

“I started to realize I could be afraid every day about contracting COVID-19 and let that consume me,” she said. “Or I could get the vaccine and maybe be concerned for a bit but then say, ‘Whew, I’m in the clear and I feel better now.’”

Yuni Medlin gets a shot of Johnson & Johnson Pfizer vaccine.

Mother knows best.

Medlin’s mother was a vaccination nurse in South King County for years. She helped convince Medlin it’s important to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

“My mom gave vaccines and she trusted going to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Medlin said. “So, I saw mom get it and I trust in her. That made me feel comfortable to get one.”

It wasn’t the first time her mother pushed Medlin to get vaccinated.

“When I was in my 20s, my mom always wanted me to get a flu shot and I absolutely put my foot down,” she said. “But when I started to serve the public, getting a flu shot gave me peace of mind working around elderly and vulnerable populations. It would be safer for me and all the people around me. I even began coordinating flu shot clinics at work.”

Serving the community.

Medlin works a lot in the Springbrook neighborhood, helping connect folks with important resources they need. It was there she chose to get the vaccine.

“I know a lot of people have fear around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and so that’s the one I got,” she said. “I got mine at a clinic in Springbrook because I want people out there to know that when I come out to volunteer, I’m not asking anyone in that neighborhood to do anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself.”

She understands the importance of trusting the messenger. 

“I see a lot of health disparities out there and I want to make sure  people aren’t feeling afraid to get vaccines,” she said. “When I think about communities in underserved areas, I can’t just ask people to do something if I’m not willing to go get it done.”

Just as her mother was a role model for her, she wants to help convince others about the importance of vaccination through her own actions.

“I had to have someone in my life that I trusted get the vaccine, so I understand that,” she said. “I felt like my mom was also making that decision as a mother, and that she would feel safe enough to recommend that for her child.”

Safer together.

Now that Medlin is fully vaccinated, she feels much safer working in the community.

“In order to get resources out to people, it has to be done in a safe manner,” she said. “So, I wanted to make sure I could get back out there to the community and make sure I could give them what they needed.”

She recently took a trip out of state to see her grandmother. Being vaccinated made her more comfortable. 

“I just thought about what it would do long term,” she said. “If I don’t get vaccinated, I’m going to wake up every day wondering who’s around me, what I’m going to be exposed to, and I just knew that would affect my mental health long term.”

Those concerns have lessened for Medlin, and she finds it a lot easier to continue her important work.

“I’m really excited just to see people back out living their day-to-day lives again,” she said. “I know how hard it’s been for some people to not be able to go into the workplace. I want to see businesses thrive. I know people have missed out on so much. All the in-person interaction has been the biggest thing.”

Find your dose.

Find your COVID-19 vaccine today at Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can also drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated without an appointment.

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.