Union members: Get informed about why you should get vaccinated for COVID-19.
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is providing this COVID-19 Vaccination Information resource for unions to protect their members’ interests and for rank-and-file members to get all the facts they need to make an informed choice when they have the opportunity to get vaccinated. The following information is below:
► Union-Specific Information — Customizable handouts for union members including answers to frequently asked questions, a list of union principles regarding vaccination, sample contract/MOU language, and sharable graphics to help share this resource.
► Workers’ Vaccination Stories — Rank-and-file union members sharing their personal vaccination stories and why they chose to do it.
► Trusted Information Sources — Resources for more information, particularly regarding the importance of vaccine prioritization and outreach for Black, Indigenous and people of color.
(Check back as information continues to be added and updated.)
WSLC — Get Vaccinated! — También en Español — This is a basic one-page handout for union members. It explains the importance of getting vaccinated and answers a few questions members might have about the vaccine. The WSLC can customize this for your union by adding your name and logo upon request.
WSLC — COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A — También en Español — This is a more detailed version of the previous handout, a front-and-back one-pager than answers more questions and offers trusted resources of information for members who have concerns about getting vaccinated. It also explains why vaccine prioritization and outreach for Black, Indigenous and people of color is so important. The WSLC can customize this for your union by adding your name and logo upon request.
WSLC — Union Principles for COVID-19 Vaccination — This is a list of 7 Union Principles that SEIU is calling on all employers, public health officials and elected officials to follow during distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. They offer an excellent model for other unions to build upon as they seek to promote vaccination while protecting their members’ interests.
WSLC — Shareable graphics — Share these on social media so your union’s members can also use this page as a resource.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW — Coronovirus Vaccine Policies and Frequently Asked Questions
UFCW 21 — Here is some contract/MOU language that is being proposed with employers (all are in Word format):
Letter of Understanding Related to Working Conditions During the Pandemic (proposed with Kroger)
Joint UFCW and Safeway-Albertsons Letter to Governors — Urging prioritization for grocery workers in states’ COVID-19 vaccine plans.
Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 — Vaccine Resource Page — Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal decision. Check out these frequently asked questions and hear from healthcare and hospital employees about why to get the vaccine and what to expect. Also, check out this WFSE-hosted conversation between union members and health experts addressing concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, particularly among communities of color.
WORKERS’ VACCINATION STORIES
► From The Stand — I’m a Union leader and a Black woman. Here’s why I got the COVID-19 vaccine. (by Sherronda Jamerson) — On Jan. 2, I received my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I’m a Mental Health Practitioner Clinical Specialist at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where I’ve worked for the past six years. I currently sit on the Harborview Ethics Committee and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. I’m also the president of AFSCME Local 3488. As a Black mental health care provider and union leader, I have gained the trust and respect of many in my workplace and in the community. As a leader, I’ve never asked anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do. I know people are scared. Being fearful is to be expected. The truth about my experience has produced curiosity and hope for those who are skeptics about the vaccine. Read more.
John Gustafsom was also featured in this Kitsap Sun story — Hospital workers receive first doses of coronavirus vaccine in Kitsap
Following are some of the stories shared at a recent WSLC vaccination workshop: Alan Rivas (IAFF Local 1828), Senior Firefighter/Paramedic; Ariane Laird (SEIU Healthcare 1199NW), an emergency room nurse; and Kyong Barry (UFCW 21), a grocery worker.
Contact us if you would like to share YOUR vaccination story.
TRUSTED INFORMATION RESOURCES
► Washington State Department of Health — COVID-19 Information — This site, which includes specific information and guidance about vaccinations, is also available in American Sign Language (ASL) | 中文 – Chinese | 日本語 – Japanese | 한국어 – Korean | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ – Punjabi | Русский – Russian | Af-soomaali – Somali | Español – Spanish | Українська – Ukrainian | Tiếng Việt – Vietnamese | and additional languages.
► Washington State’s Phase Finder — Check your COVID-19 vaccine eligibility using this tool from the Washington State Department of Health.
► The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Essential Workers COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit — This toolkit will help employers and employees learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.
► The COVID-19 Prevention Network — The Science of COVID-19 Vaccines and Monoclonal Antibodies
► Muslim Journal — Should we take the COVID-19 vaccine? (by Khalil Marcus Lambert, Ph.D) — My goal is not to convince you to get vaccinated. Vaccination is 100% a personal choice. Yet, as a scientist who has been trained in microbiology and clinical epidemiology, I feel compelled to give you the facts and the data so that you can make an informed decision about what will be best for you and your family (whether that’s getting vaccinated or just staying home, wearing a mask, and strengthening your immune system). I want to help separate fact from fiction. I’m writing this for my community and my people, and I’m not speaking on behalf of anyone but myself.
► Background information explaining why some in BIPOC communities have mistrust of government regarding health care: The story of Henrietta Lacks | The Tuskegee Experiment (1932-1972) | Forced sterilization in Indigenous People in the 1970s | James Marion Sims and experimentation on enslaved women
LATEST NEWS REPORTS
► From the Wichita Eagle (March 1) — New vaccine using different science is expected this week. What you should know. — The first two vaccines authorized for emergency use, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, both require two doses and use a newer technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is what’s called a viral vector vaccine.
► From Vox (Feb. 24) — The growing evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines can reduce transmission, explained — Even as we wait for more definitive studies on the vaccines’ effects on transmission, more and more scientists think we do have enough information to feel pretty good about the vaccines’ capacity to give us back a semblance of normalcy as we approach a year of life in a pandemic.
► From the Wichita Eagle (Feb. 11) — Do vaccinated people need to quarantine after COVID exposure? CDC offers new guidance — People who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and are later exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are not required to quarantine, according to the CDC. But only if they meet certain criteria.
► From KIMA Yakima (Feb. 8) — New report shows Hispanic people in WA are getting less than their fair share of vaccine — Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve known that communities of color have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic. Now a report published by the Seattle Times shows a disproportionate amount of the vaccine is going to white people, and far less to those who are Hispanic.
► From HuffPost (Feb. 7) — Here’s why some health care workers don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine — Experts and representatives of health care workers and health care employers are quick to emphasize that these hesitant workers aren’t fools, conspiracy theorists or anti-vaxxers. In many ways, their worries grew from the peculiar circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Some health care workers have developed deep mistrust of their employers and government leaders during the pandemic, after months of fighting for basic needs like masks and other personal protective equipment. They have watched the government bungle so many aspects of the COVID-19 response that when those same authority figures tell them to get vaccinated first, essentially to be guinea pigs for new vaccines, their messages aren’t always well-received.
► From the NY Times (Feb. 7) — 60 Black health experts urge Black Americans to get vaccinated (by Drs. Thomas A. LaVeist and ) — — We are among 60 Black members of the National Academy of Medicine, the premier health science organization in the United States. Together we are scientists, doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and public health experts. We feel compelled to make the case that all Black Americans should get vaccinated to protect themselves from a pandemic that has disproportionately killed them at a rate 1.5 times as high as white Americans in cases in which race is known — a rate that is most likely very conservative. Many of us fought our way into health professions specifically to care for the health of our community. We have devoted our careers to ensuring that everyone — regardless of race — receives the care required for optimal health. This is why we support the COVID-19 vaccines.
► From the Seattle Times (Feb. 5) — Employers can require the coronavirus vaccine, but most major Seattle businesses are holding off for now — For office employees and front-line workers, a vaccine requirement could mean safety and peace of mind as the economy starts to return to pre-pandemic levels. But a mandate could also turn off some workers who are skeptical of the vaccine and introduce new headaches as long the vaccine is in short supply. For a middle ground, some businesses are turning to incentives like extra pay to nudge employees to get vaccinated as soon as they’re able.
► From the NY Times (Feb. 3) — AstraZeneca vaccine shown to drastically cut transmission of the virus — The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca not only protects people from serious illness and death but also substantially slows the transmission of the virus, according to a new study — a finding that underscores the importance of mass vaccination as a path out of the pandemic. The study by researchers at the University of Oxford is the first to document evidence that any coronavirus vaccine can reduce transmission of the virus.
► From Politico (Feb. 2) — Just 5% of vaccinations have gone to Black Americans, despite equity efforts — A Politico analysis suggests disadvantaged communities are being bypassed — even in blue states fighting disparities.
► From the Washington Post (Feb. 1) — Many who have received the coronavirus vaccine wonder: What can I safely do? — The arrival of coronavirus vaccines is beginning to have an impact on everyday life, with millions of newly inoculated Americans eagerly anticipating a return to long-postponed activities and visits with sorely missed relatives and friends. But with Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, warning that vaccinations are not a “pass,” the recently inoculated are engaged in a new round of complicated risk-benefit assessments. What can I safely do? Where can I go? And how do I interact with people who are not vaccinated?
► From the AP (Feb. 1) — Vaccine skepticism lurks in town famous for syphilis study — The onetime mayor of the Alabama town immortalized as the home of the infamous “Tuskegee syphilis study” is wary of getting inoculated against COVID-19. Among other things, she’s suspicious of the government promoting a vaccine that was developed in record time when it can’t seem to conduct adequate virus testing or consistently provide quality rural health care.
► From the Seattle Times (Jan. 26) — How to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Seattle, King County and Washington state — Before you begin your vaccination process, the top thing to know right now is that you’ll need plenty of patience. The vaccine rollout has encountered all sorts of snags and slowdowns, and even if with clear messaging, the supply of vaccines still wouldn’t be enough to cover everyone. Inslee said the state is shifting its strategy to create the infrastructure for mass vaccination without waiting for the volume of doses to match.
► From the South Seattle Emerald (Jan. 25) — Filipino health care workers and their battle against COVID-19 — Nearly one-third of U.S. nurses who have died from COVID-19 are Filipino even though they make up just 4% of the nation’s total nursing population, according to a report from National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in the country. “I feel like I’m putting my own health and my family’s health at risk just by stepping through the hospital doors to do the job that I normally do, and that brings a whole different level of stress to me,” said one Filipino nurse who has worked at the UW Medical Center in Montlake since 2017 and asked to remain anonymous. “It hits closer to home when you know that one-third of the friends and family that you know that work in healthcare might be part of that statistic.”
► From the Seattle Times (Jan. 24) — COVID-19 spikes fourfold among Washington’s Latinos, and it’s reaching almost every corner of the population — Amid the deadliest wave of the pandemic yet, the novel coronavirus seemingly racing to claim as many casualties as it can while vaccination gradually rolls out, it is hitting Latinos harder than ever — far more than whites.
► From the NY Times (Jan. 24) — Why vaccines alone will not end the pandemic — The arrival of highly effective vaccines in December lifted hopes that they would eventually slow or stop the spread of the disease through the rest of the population. But vaccines alone are not enough, according to a new model by scientists at Columbia University. And if precautions like working remotely, limiting travel and wearing masks are relaxed too soon, it could mean millions more infections and thousands more deaths.
► From The Hill (Jan. 21) — Unions wade into debate over requiring COVID-19 vaccine — Unions have fought hard to get their workers near the top of the vaccination list but now are girding for the likelihood that some of their members will push back on businesses that mandate shots for employees. “Obviously, we want priority, but we also want freedom of health care choices,” said UFCW’s Kim Cordova, adding that she expected that some workers, because of allergies or religious objections, won’t want to take the vaccine. If a union employee’s contract doesn’t specifically address vaccinations or include anything like medical testing and vaccines, the dispute becomes an issue of mandatory bargaining, experts said.
► From the Washington Post (Jan. 21) — Yes, people with coronavirus vaccinations should still distance from each other. Here’s why. — There are still unanswered questions about whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus — a major concern among public health and infectious-disease experts. It is possible that people who are vaccinated can be exposed to the coronavirus and become unknowing carriers, said Joshua Barocas, an infectious-disease physician at Boston Medical Center. People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the coronavirus, according to findings from a CDC model published this month.
► From HuffPost (Jan. 19) — Black Americans are getting vaccinated at lower rates than White Americans, study finds — Black and Asian Americans are among the most hard-hit communities, but experts are concerned about whether proper resources and information are reaching them.
► Crosscut (Jan. 14) — Disproportionately hit by COVID-19, WA Latinos brace for vaccine — Public health experts are racing to prepare communities for the vaccine, but they face notable hurdles.
► NPR (Jan. 12) — Why you should still wear a mask and avoid crowds after getting the COVID-19 vaccine — It may seem counterintuitive, but health officials say that even after you get vaccinated against COVID-19, you still need to practice the usual pandemic precautions, at least for a while.
► Associated Press (Jan. 8, 2021) — Vaccine rollout hits snag as health workers balk at shots — The desperately awaited vaccination drive against the coronavirus in the U.S. is running into resistance from an unlikely quarter: Surprising numbers of health care workers who have seen firsthand the death and misery inflicted by COVID-19 are refusing shots.