by Maher Kawash
SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington’s vaccination efforts are hitting a speed bump. The supply isn’t the issue—it’s the demand.
Washington is giving roughly 48,000 shots per day, and that may sound alright, but it’s down from the daily average of around 60,000 just a couple of weeks ago.
The state even set a goal in late April of 90,000 shots per day but hasn’t even come close to that.
But, that’s where a Facebook group is trying to come in to help; a group called Find a COVID Shot WA.
Facebook can be a mixed bag; a lot of bad, but in this case, some good.
“Facebook can be a place where a lot of misinformation is spread, but it can also be a place where a lot of good information is spread,” Co-Founder Steve said.
Steve and his sister created the group to help get their neighbors vaccinated.
They struggled to find an appointment for themselves back in January.
“We realized very quickly if we were having a hard time, there were gonna be other people in way worse positions than us,” Steve said.
The group has taken off, helping more than half a million Washingtonians get their COVID-19 vaccine.
About 75 volunteers help run the page and answer a variety of questions, like timing between doses or something as simple as finding an appointment, all with the help of some medical experts.
“One of the volunteers that you may encounter could very well be a nurse, could very well be well-involved in the medical community, and so that’s where we get our information from,” Steve said.
You don’t even need a Facebook account. You can just call (425) 780-5785, and they’ll get you an appointment.
They don’t get any compensation from all of this despite spending hours working on it aside of their regular jobs.
“We’re neighbors helping neighbors, and so we don’t have any ulterior motives,” Steve said. “We’re just here to help.”
One of their priorities is to assist people of color as they provide some help in Spanish.
Hispanics are 2-3 times more likely to get infected and be hospitalized by COVID-19.
Washington has also vaccinated just seven percent of its Hispanics, despite being 13 percent of the population.
“People of color really need to have a seat at the table when we’re determining where vaccines go,” Steve said. “I’m a white guy and I had no idea that my friends were in that position.”
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