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Vaccine Clinic Offers 'Low-Pressure Environment' for WA Immigrants

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A vaccine clinic in Seattle is offering education and assistance in people's native language. (fotoduets/Adobe Stock)
A vaccine clinic in Seattle is offering education and assistance in people's native language. (fotoduets/Adobe Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact
April 30, 2021

SEATTLE - Unions are hosting a vaccine clinic for immigrant workers and their families this weekend.

The Service Employees International Union locals are partnering with Public Health Seattle and King County to offer what they describe as a "low-pressure environment" where folks can learn about the vaccine in their native language.

Frederick Marcelo is a licensed practical nurse who is volunteering at the clinic.

"I know that a good number of my community - I'm a Filipino American immigrant - that there are a lot of them that would like to hear someone talking in our native language," said Marcelo, "trying to explain the need of getting vaccinated."

The clinic is being held on International Workers' Day - May 1, Saturday - at the Seattle office of SEIU Local 6. They plan to give out 500 shots.

Identification is not required and the clinic is open to everyone, regardless of immigration status.

Immigrant workers have faced a higher risk during the pandemic. They're more likely to work in the health field than people born in the United States, and about three-quarters of undocumented immigrants are considered essential workers, according to a recent study.

Jane Hopkins is a registered nurse and executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare 1199. She's also an immigrant from Sierra Leone, and said the clinic is part of the union's bigger push for racial and economic justice.

"The COVID crisis has actually made it very clear that immigrants have been the backbone of this country, and we continue to fight for them," said Hopkins. "Racial justice and immigrant justice go hand-in-hand."

Hopkins encourages people to be vaccinated so the country can put the pandemic behind it. Other participating organizations include SEIU 775, SEIU 925 and the SEIU Washington State Council.

Disclosure: SEIU 775 and SEIU Washington State Council contribute to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Education, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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