An arms race: A vaccine clinic works swiftly to inoculate a diverse crowd in Kent

“THIS IS GOING to be quick. Just take a deep breath.”

HealthPoint worker Bao-Yen Tran must have repeated those words dozens of times today. She is part of a team of health professionals administering a second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a diverse crowd at Hillside Church in Kent. The five-hour clinic is an effort to bring the vaccine closer to the communities that are lagging behind in vaccination rates.

In the church’s large conference room, simple round tables and folding chairs are set up as vaccination stations. People come and go fast, and I watch as closely as I can to capture that lifesaving instant when shots get into arms.

It’s such a fleeting moment, yet the work that makes it possible is mind-boggling, from the scientific research and the human trials to ensure the safety of the vaccine, to the logistics of distribution and worldwide delivery.

Less than five months since I sketched a drive-through testing site when cases were skyrocketing, it’s heartening to see people of almost every age getting fully vaccinated.

The job is very rewarding, says Bao-Yen Tran, who sends everyone off with a celebratory farewell.

“All done. Congrats!” 

This illustrated column was originally published in The Seattle Times on June. 13, 2021.

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