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.
► Wash. State Department of Health and the Wash. Immigrant Rights Solidarity Network — COVID-19 Vaccination: Know Your Rights for Immigrant Community Members (tambien en Español)– The vaccine is available at NO COST to everyone in the United States, regardless of citizenship status. A Social Security number is not required to get a vaccine. In no way does getting a vaccine count as a public charge. (en Español)
► 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 Washington Post — Vaccine conversations can be messy. Here’s how to talk about the shots. — Vaccination in general, experts say, is often a high-stakes topic tied to personal beliefs about health, safety and survival. In the case of the coronavirus vaccines, political views may come into play as well.
► From the Washington Post (April 5) — Should health-care workers be required to get coronavirus shots? Companies grapple with mandates. — The question of whether employers should compel their workforces to be immunized against the coronavirus is rippling through the health-care industry and beyond. It is a question of uncommon intricacy, involving public health, ethics, law, labor relations and ingrained American values.
► From Roll Call (April 2) — CDC: Fully vaccinated people can travel safely — No change on guidance for those not fully vaccinated.
► From the AP (March 29) — Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines found to be 90% effective in real-world U.S. study, says CDC — The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies.
► From the Washington Post (March 28) — Hesitancy and access issues: The vaccine challenges in the Black community — Health-care workers in Washington, D.C., are trying to make the coronavirus vaccine more accessible in Black communities and combat the skepticism that exists for some.
► From the NY Times (March 26) — Far-right extremists move from ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine — Extremist groups are trying to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation about coronavirus vaccines in an effort to try to undermine the government.
► From The Hill (March 25) — Experts take pro-vaccine message to right-wing skeptics — They say many conservatives have legitimate questions about COVID-19 vaccinations that are worth listening to and answering. “These are folks who really feel disrespected. They feel that COVID and the vaccines and the response has been politicized and weaponized, in their words,” said Tom Frieden, the former director of the CDC under Obama. “They feel deeply alienated from the government.”
► From Crosscut (March 23) — More Black, Latinx people in Washington are getting vaccines — Washington state is doing a better job of vaccinating those hardest hit by the coronavirus, but some of the data used to track this trend is missing.
► From the AP (March 22) — COVID-19 vaccines in U.S. do not contain aluminum, despite social media claims — The COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the United States do not contain any aluminum, according to their ingredient lists.
► From the Everett Herald (March 19) — With vaccine supply rising, governor will expand eligibility — Starting March 31, restaurant and construction workers, and everyone over the age of 60, will be among those able to get a shot as the state extends eligibility into the third and fourth tiers of Phase 1B of its vaccination plan.
► From the Seattle Times (March 12) — New federal guidelines for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — This week, the CDC released guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, allowing them to gather indoors. We answer your questions about the CDC guidelines and address new guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services about nursing home visits.
► From Bloomberg (March 12) — COVID-19 vaccine side effects: what to expect, why, and whether you should take anything — Some recipients describe symptoms from fever to fatigue that are more profound than the jolt some get from a seasonal flu shot.
► From the Seattle Times (March 9) — If you’ve gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, here’s what you can do now under CDC’s new guidance — Among other things, you can visit with other fully vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physical distancing.
► 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
► 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.