Editor’s Note: This article has been updated as of March 26, 2021 to reflect current information.
On March 17, the state of Washington moved into Phase 1B Tier 2 of vaccination efforts. High-risk critical workers in certain congregate settings became eligible for vaccination, including those who work in seafood processing plants and on fishing vessels. Marine Transportation and Longshore workers are anticipated to become eligible on March 31 when the state moves to phase 1B Tiers 3 and 4. Discovery Health MD is a certified provider of all three COVID-19 vaccines in Washington and Alaska and our knowledge of the maritime industry situates us well to serve the immunization needs of these newly eligible workers.
We understand that people in and around the seafood industry have worked hard to maintain safe environments by wearing masks, practicing strict social distancing and testing for COVID-19 regularly. Hiring Discovery Health MD to perform an on-site vaccination clinic for your workforce allows you to preserve the integrity of the quarantine you and your team have made such great efforts to maintain.
Why should you vaccinate?
While CDC guidelines are changing rapidly, high-risk employers should not expect to relax any of the controls they’ve had in place until a significant portion of their workforce has been vaccinated. We encourage you to vaccinate to protect yourself, your coworkers, and help your industry return to ways of operating that do not involve masks, distancing, and testing.
“We are learning about how much protection is provided by being fully vaccinated. While it appears that you would be less likely to contract and transmit COVID-19, no vaccine is 100% effective,” says Dr. Ann Jarris, CEO of Discovery Health MD. “This means that even if you are fully vaccinated but those around you in a high-density work environment are not, you still need to mask and distance.” A fully vaccinated workforce will likely be able to relax these controls. An employer-sponsored vaccination clinic is the most efficient way to achieve this.
Encourage vaccine confidence
While you are waiting for your employees to be vaccinated, start building their vaccine confidence by educating them with state and federal communication tools. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) offers educational resources in numerous languages. Encourage your Human Resources department to distribute them to ensure that as many individuals as possible are ready and willing to receive their vaccine when the time comes. Speaking directly with employees to enhance their understanding and address their concerns is the most effective way to promote vaccine confidence.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offer a wide variety of communication resources. “It is vital that your employees understand that these are very safe vaccines,” says Dr. Jarris. “Side effects appear to be limited and treatable with Tylenol and Ibuprofen. The rate of allergic reaction is no greater than that of a flu shot.”
As COVID-19 vaccinations become more widely available, we are seeing more individuals become eligible rapidly. We are working with the Washington State Department of Health to assess the vaccination needs of the maritime industry in the Seattle-Tacoma area and arrange mobile teams to serve these populations.
The state of Washington has deemed it incumbent upon the person receiving the vaccine to prove they are eligible. Discovery Health MD asks that individuals visit the Washington DOH Phase Finder, answer the questions honestly, and only sign up for a vaccination slot if they are eligible.
Vaccination clinics with Discovery Health MD
If your team is in the maritime industry and eligible for immunization, Discovery Health MD is ready to vaccinate them. We prioritize groups in multiples of ten to avoid waste of the vaccination. If you think your team fits the bill, here’s what to do to start the process.
Workforce Vaccination Process
- Verify eligibility. Verify each employee’s eligibility on the Washington DOH Phase Finder and take a picture or screen shot of each confirmation.
- Contact us. Email us at [email protected]. A member of our vaccination team will be in touch with you to learn more about your company and start the rest of the process.
- Schedule. Once we’ve confirmed that you’re ready for a vaccination clinic, our team will help you schedule the big day.
- Provide data. Our team will work with yours to gather all the health and demographic information necessary to provide this service and configure your employees in our database.
- Vaccinate. On your scheduled vaccination day, a team of Discovery Health MD medical staff will travel to a site of your choice and administer vaccines for eligible employees.
Due to provisions around the transport of the vaccine, we are currently limited to destinations within a one-hour drive of our offices in Tukwila.
Due to potential side effects and the possibility of significant absenteeism the day after the immunization, we advise scheduling two staggered vaccination days. You could also consider scheduling the event the day before a general closure or non-working day.
To avoid the need for a second vaccination event, Discovery Health MD will be administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine whenever possible. We expect greater availability by the end of March.
Proof of vaccination
Proving your workforce is vaccinated will become increasingly important. Discovery Health MD provides the standard paper CDC proof of vaccination card after it administers an immunization and documents it in the appropriate state database. Individuals immunized by Discovery Health MD are also registered in our online database and can be looked up for verification. Individuals immunized elsewhere should protect their proof of vaccination card and take pictures of it as a precaution.
Maritime vaccination and beyond
We are dedicated to serving the vaccination needs of the maritime industry first and foremost. Once we’ve vaccinated as many eligible commercial maritime outfits in the Seattle area as possible, we’ll prepare to expand our scope.
When you want a streamlined, stress-free vaccination experience to protect your valued team of employees, think of Discovery Health MD first.