The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is contributing $1 million to help underserved communities in King County receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.
As the vaccination campaign continues ramping up and a greater swath of the Washington population is eligible for the shots, Black and Hispanic people in King County are receiving the vaccine at a lower rate, while they have been infected by COVID at two-to-three times the rate of their white and Asian counterparts.
More than 40% of white and Asian residents in the county, which includes Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond, have received at least their first dose of vaccine. That percentage drops to 30% of Black residents and 26% of Hispanic residents.
The donation will support efforts by Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington’s UW Medicine to provide mobile vaccination teams and popup clinics in racially diverse communities as well as supporting Harborview’s vaccination site. The gift will also help pay for UW Medicine-led partnerships with community organizations and leaders to encourage people to get vaccinated. The groups will share information about the vaccines and work to build trust in their safety.
“These targeted funds will support vaccine delivery to underserved communities across our region and help close the vaccine equity gap that leaves some of our communities more vulnerable,” said Lara Littlefield, director of science and technology partnerships with the Allen Foundation.
The vaccination program also has support from the Seattle Mariners, Cambia Health Foundation, Starbucks and foundry10.
The Seattle-based Allen Family Foundation, originally created by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his sister Jody Allen, has made multiple COVID-related gifts over the past year, totaling $12 million. The aid has funded programs including:
- In June 2020, the foundation contributed $1.2 million for personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and $1 million to WA Food Fund, which benefits food banks.
- The UW received $3.4 million in July for COVID testing of 7,000 people across Washington state. The study aimed to better understand the spread of the disease.
- The foundation in January gave $1.4 million to local organizations statewide to address food
security, childcare and other needs among diverse communities struggling in the wake of the pandemic.