I was able to witness firsthand as a volunteer the community vaccination event Jan. 24 at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.
It was incredible to see the partnership between our largest health-care provider in Lewis County, Providence, along with Lewis County officials and many volunteers coordinated by the United Way.
Hearing the gratitude and sense of hope from the hundreds of people I checked in to receive their vaccine was incredible. And the attitude of the hundreds of volunteers — Providence caregivers there on their days off, members of the United Way, Twin Cities Rotary, family and friends who came out to support — as the rain came down and wind blew truly warmed my heart. My feet and hands were warmed by the heaters and hand warmers provided by the county. I felt like everything was thought of and planned for.
It was amazing that nearly 1,300 people were vaccinated. I sincerely hope that we will be able to do more of these types of events. I know the Lewis County Public Health and Social Services, health care providers and our volunteers are all hoping and planning to provide more vaccinations countywide. For more vaccination events to happen, local counties and health care providers are willing to step up and distribute vaccines to their communities if they can get more vaccines. I fear that this effective local effort may be replaced by state-run mass vaccination sites, the closest of which to us may be in Clark County. Such a shift will create a significant burden to the most vulnerable people in Lewis County.
I have seen Lewis County come together and get this job done. I hope that Lewis County and our local health care providers will be able to continue this amazing local effort!