As of this writing nearly 21% of Pierce County residents are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This equates to about 188,000 of the county’s more than 900,000 residents. This is encouraging data, but a group of UW Tacoma healthcare leadership students is working to get those numbers even higher.
The group of nine includes first-year Healthcare Leadership students Spencer Tyson and Amandeep Dhillon, as well as seniors Emily Lopez-Allende, Anatoliy Voznyarskiy, Sarah Solano, Michael Villalpando, Miranda Stein, Aaron Dawson Becker and Ashly Norton.
The group created the Husky Vaccine Task Force as part of Associate Professor Robin Evans-Agnew’s healthcare leadership course. Members of the task force have also enlisted the help of a nurse preceptor for this project. “A nurse preceptor is a registered nurse who teaches other students the skill and values they need in order to succeed in the field,” said Lopez-Allende.
The task force has two objectives. “The main goal is to spread information about the importance of getting a vaccine,” said Voznyarskiy. To that end, students have already created social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook and are regularly posting information about the vaccines. Task force members are also reaching out to different stakeholders including community organizations as well as local leaders.
Pushing out information, particularly accurate information is good, but can success can be hard to measure. The group’s other goal is to recruit volunteers to work at vaccine clinics and/or help organize clinics in Pierce County. “We are looking for volunteers that are willing to help in any way possible,” said Villalpando.
The task force will face resistance. A March 2021 Pew Research poll found that 30% of respondents said they are not planning to get vaccinated. “We expect to get a lot of residents that are unwilling to get the shot,” said Lopez-Allende. Villalpando added, “We want the public to know that if you trust science we will be able to fight off viruses like this, or worse, in the future. People that are in doubt should be given all the right information and be shown that getting vaccinated is what’s best for everyone.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org