Indoor site offers same-day appointments and onsite provider with response rooms
VANCOUVER — PeaceHealth Southwest’s (PHSW) team at their downtown Vancouver Memorial Urgent Care are working hard to have the best vaccine clinic around.
The 1940s era building on Vancouver’s Main Street that now houses a vaccination service line responsible for some 22,000 provided shots was little more than an abandoned hospital wing just a few months ago.
With some help from the team he manages and the greater PHSW family, Ryan Cole revamped the space into a destination for residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations with quality providers at the ready.
“We’re fast, we’re convenient, we offer a higher level of service, in that we have a provider on site during our clinic hours,” said Cole, who is an RN and the manager of Memorial Urgent Care. “We have a special location for people who have anaplastic reactions to wait with medical professionals. We also have the backup of the urgent care at the Memorial clinic to to assist us in case anything happens. We have the ability to handle any type of emergency here.”
The wing that now houses the vaccination process used to be a doctor’s clinic that moved to the main hospital on Mill Plain. They left behind large amounts of equipment and furniture in storage, which were easily reclaimed, Cole said. While parts of the wing are somewhat dated, the process is running smoothly and efficient, with same-day appointments available.
PHSW is administering the Pfizer vaccine at the clinic, and has already achieved the community standard of 500 vaccinations a day or more. Across all of its systems, PHSW has already vaccinated over 160,000 people.
“In just under two weeks we had everything up and running,” Cole said. “We have 10 rooms. We have the pharmacy mixing area. We have three supply rooms. We have a dirty utility room, we have facilities on site, and we have the provider on site every day, Monday through Friday.”
PHSW is collaborating with a coalition of 60 of America’s top hospitals and health care institutions on a nationwide campaign to encourage adults to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Led by Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, the campaign “Get the Vaccine to Save Lives,” seeks to reassure the public that vaccines are safe, effective and necessary to achieve herd immunity and a return to normal activities.
The campaign hopes to reach adults who are hesitant to receive a vaccine, including racial and minority ethnic groups and people living in rural communities. Cole said one of the biggest challenges at his site was being targeted by a hate group, after the clinic had special days aimed at vaccinating minorities and underrepresented communities.
“We got targeted by a local hate group saying that they did not appreciate us looking out for marginalized and underrepresented people,” Cole said. “Being a member of an underrepresented population myself, the LGBTQ community, that was a really difficult day to hear that there were people out there that hated us enough in order to come and disrupt our business when we were trying to do something really, really good.”
The event continued without incident, Cole said, with security removing disruptive individuals.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published March 30, 17 percent of the public say they will take a wait-and-see approach before getting it themselves, and another 20 percent say they will never get a vaccine or will only get it if required to do so for work, school or other activities. According to PHSW, this leaves a significant portion of the population at risk of going unvaccinated.
The nationwide campaign includes print and digital advertising, media outreach, social media, an awareness video and an informational website. To that end, the folks at the downtown Vancouver clinic have found a helpful ally in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
“Whenever you get your second dose of vaccine, and you have your card, take it to Krispy Kreme and they’re offering people free donuts,” Cole said. “We were noticing that a lot of people were taking pictures of themselves with their cards and then posting on social media. So I got a selfie wall so people can come in and they can do their social media posts and have PeaceHealth in the background. Then if they’re on their second dose, they get a picture with the donut box.”
More than 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 48 percent of the population aged 18 and over has received at least one vaccine dose in the U.S. through April 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Prior to being put in use, COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines then meet the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.
Information provided by PeaceHealth Southwest