Metro working with Public Health to get the word out to employees about vaccines
While COVID-19 vaccine availability has been steadily increasing in the region, the number of people getting vaccinated has begun to level off. Recently, Metro hosted a King County employee vaccine clinic at Metro’s South Training Center where Virginia Mason Franciscan Health vaccinated 575 King County employees. During the preparation for that clinic, Metro realized that some of their mission-critical workers are hesitant to get the vaccine.
There are still many people in King County who have either decided not to get vaccinated or are still undecided. It’s normal to have questions or concerns about the three vaccines, and it can be difficult to wade through the mass amount of information (and misinformation) coming through on social media, the news, and from friends and family. In addition, a significant number of Metro operators, facility workers, and other mission-critical onsite workers have limited access to email which can make sharing vaccine resources a challenge.
As part of the Metro Employee Vaccine team, Samantha Souffront, Metro’s Wellness Manager, partnered with Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) to reach staff directly at their worksites to combat misinformation and provide support for employees as they make this important healthcare decision for themselves and their families.
“Metro employee volunteers attended a PHSKC-led training to learn effective ways of addressing hesitancy and sharing factual information one-on-one with their peers,” Samantha said. Beginning May 10, the volunteers began staffing onsite information tables at multiple Metro locations through the month of May, working various shifts, in an “effort to provide vaccine education and answer questions.”
Becky Reitzes, an Educator Consultant II with PHSKC, developed the training for Metro. She has been involved with designing and implementing trainings for a variety of community organizations during the pandemic, providing her extensive experience and knowledge to help them in their efforts to educate the community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an anxious and troubling time for so many people and families in our communities,” Becky explains. “On top of that, there is misinformation out there about the vaccines, and sometimes a distrust in government and medical institutions.”
The goal of this training is to provide volunteers the tools to share accurate information with their Metro peers so they can make informed decisions about the vaccine. This in-person effort also gives our staff the chance to show their co-workers they appreciate and care about the work they do and the essential service they provide to our region.
“The safety and well-being of our employees is always a top priority at Metro,” said Terry White, Metro’s General Manager. “I am very pleased with the outcome of the County’s onsite vaccine clinic, and we will continue to support our employees and their families in making informed decisions and helping them get the vaccine if they choose to do so. I appreciate Public Health’s partnership and the ongoing efforts of our staff and volunteers.”