‘We’re in this together’: Sea Mar Community Health Centers provides COVID vaccines to Latinx community
Sea Mar Community Health Centers operates 35 medical clinics in Western Washington and specializes in service to the Hispanic and Latinx communities. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Sea Mar remained open to ensure their patients, many of them underserved, continued to receive the care they needed.
“We did it because we knew people needed access to care,” said Dr. Julian Perez, a family and sports medicine specialist at Sea Mar, in a FOX 13 Seattle Healthy Living segment this week. “And that mission is what has given us the trust of the community.”
Sea Mar Community Health Centers is helping celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), and is sponsoring the 16th Annual Latino Health Forum (Oct. 27-29), focusing on health issues in the Latinx community in Washington.
Dr. Perez told FOX 13 that during a normal year, the biggest health issues facing Sea Mar’s patients would include heart disease and hypertension, but during the pandemic, the biggest issue is COVID-19, including depression and anxiety brought on by the pandemic. Communities of color across Washington have been hit disproportionately by COVID-19.
In response, Sea Mar has enabled nearly 300,000 shots in arms since the vaccines became available, by making all the COVID vaccines available to their patients, answering the patients’ questions, and making the best recommendations for their patients and their families.
“The vaccine is the only equitable and reasonable way to protect everybody, and those goals are not just to reduce death and suffering, but things that our patients care about. Like they want their kids in school,” Dr. Perez told FOX 13.
Sea Mar delivers the message to their patients that the vaccines are the path out of the pandemic. “For right now, (get vaccinated) for the kids. Do it for my kids. We’re in this together,” Dr. Perez said.
Regence partnered with Sea Mar Community Health Centers on a public service announcement earlier this year about Sea Mar’s vaccine equity work, with the video also featuring Dr. Perez. See the video below.