For its efforts to help vaccinate 20,000-plus people against COVID-19, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe received the Rotary Foundation Certificate of Appreciation.
Brent Simcosky, Jamestown’s director of Health Services, accepted the award on behalf of the 150-plus health workers and medical staff on Nov. 12 from Sequim Sunrise Rotary’s leaders.
Simcosky said the tribal council and staff were honored to accept the award.
“I am immensely proud of the team at Jamestown Family Health Clinic for making our vaccination events work so successfully,” he said.
“We couldn’t be happier. It’s nice to have our staff recognized. They did a lot of hard work.”
With a little over a week of planning, vaccines started Jan. 14 under a tent in Carrie Blake Community Park and lasted for five months with 32 drive-through events.
Ann Flack, Sequim Sunrise Rotary president, said they wanted to give a huge thank you to the tribe for helping vaccinate the community so quickly.
“This saved lives and helped get our economy going again,” she said. “We appreciate all the people that helped make the vaccines happen.”
Rotarians said the award demonstrates the Rotary’s motto of “service above self.”
Also recognized for their efforts with the vaccination sessions were the Sequim Police Department, Sequim Public Works, Clallam County Fire District 3, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Dr. Allison Berry and Clallam County Public Health Services, Clallam County Sheriff’s emergency team, and Trinity United Methodist Church.
“One focus of ours was to get shots in arms as fast as possible,” Simcosky said. “We couldn’t have done that by ourselves.”
More than 180 CERT volunteers worked in shifts of 60 people per week for the sessions, he said, and more than 2,400 box lunches were distributed on below freezing days.
The Health Clinic staffed more than 20 people at each event, alongside 22 volunteer nurses and 13 providers not employed by the clinic, Rotarians said.
The clinic also held 25 other vaccination clinics at its facility and at facilities for fire and police staffers, and at Peninsula College.
Vaccination sessions at the park started as first-come, first-served, before switching to an online/phone-in reservation system.
Simcosky said people waited at first in their cars overnight and one man told him he hadn’t waited in such anticipation for something since going to a Rolling Stones concert years before.
Of those vaccinated in the park, more than 95 percent received the second, full vaccination dosage, he said.
As of Saturday, Nov. 20, Clallam County health officials report about 63.4 percent of residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In addition to the Rotary’s honor, the City of Sequim recognized the Tribe in a proclamation for its efforts earlier this year.
There are no plans for more vaccinations under a tent in the park, Simcosky said, due to the wide availability. The clinic does continue to offer vaccinations and Moderna boosters for 18 and up. For more information, visit jamestownhealth.org.
For more on the Sequim Sunrise Rotary, visit sequimsunriserotary.org.